Understanding the Data
The dashboard comprises data made available from the Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Division. It includes successful government prosecutions of wage and hour suits under the FLSA since 1985.
As you explore this dashboard, keep in mind that the DOL data only includes successful prosecutions. It doesn't include data from private prosecutions, cases that were settled out of court, or cases in which the outcome favored the employer.
In 2015 the number of lawsuits brought privately by employees against employers reached a record high of 8,781 cases (source: US Courts). This is up by more than 450% since 1995, when just 1,580 lawsuits were filed.
The looming changes to the FLSA's overtime regulations have business owners everywhere talking. The DOL received a record number of comments about the impactful change—more than 300,000—and with good reason. Wage and hours lawsuits are on the rise—staggeringly so. And the new overtime regulations, which have been called "the most economically impactful change of the decade," are likely to skyrocket suits even further.
The original data set provided by the DOL included both unsuccessful and successful prosecutions. Significantly, a steep 75% of the cases pursued by the DOL for wage and hours infractions resulted in back wages being awarded to employees. In other words, once the DOL has decided to pursue an investigation or legal action, the odds are high that they'll succeed. Meaning back wages, civil penalties, and legal fees—your own and your employee's.
However, even "winning" or settling out of court can be an expensive experience in terms of both time and money. The more preventative measures business owners take to head off legal action in the first place, and the more they know about potential pitfalls and common mistakes when it comes to dealing with FLSA lawsuits, the better.
Top 5 Industries at Risk for FLSA Wage and Hour Lawsuits
Highest Average Payout by Industry (per case)
4. New York
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