Amnesty for FLSA Violators

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced a pilot program for employers to, basically, self-report violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The DOL indicated that its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program is designed to allow employers to pay their employees the overtime wages and/or minimum wages owed under the FLSA and, in so doing, to avoid litigation and so make sure that the affected employees get paid their back wages faster.

The DOL has stated that it will not require employers who participate in the PAID program to pay liquidated damages or civil monetary penalties for participating in the program. Thus, there is a benefit to an employer to avoid the costs and expenses of litigation brought by the DOL, as well as avoiding liquidated damages and/or civil penalties imposed by the DOL.

Without the DOL’s PAID program having started, I anticipate that participation in the PAID program will ultimately lead to litigation over how an employer’s participation in the PAID program affects a private lawsuit brought by an employee to recover his/her minimum wages and/or overtime wages under the FLSA.

I will be curious to see how all of this actually plays out, including the extent to which employers come forward and confess to having violated the minimum wage and/or overtime wage provisions of the FLSA.