5 Common FLSA (For Fire Departments) Violations and Ways to Avoid Them (Part 5 of 5)
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was originally implemented in 1938. Workplaces have changed drastically since that time. Many of the most common FLSA violations reflect that transition. Modern technology has transformed the workplace in ways the original framers of the FLSA could not have imagined. As an employer, it is not always easy to stay ahead of the curve on some these issues, however it is essential that employers remain vigilant in efforts to stay compliant with the FLSA. This is the fifth of a five-part series outlining 5 very common FLSA violations and providing tips on how to stay out of the Courtroom.
- Employee Misclassification – Exempt vs. Non-Exempt (Part 1)
- Calculating Regular Rate Incorrectly (Remuneration) (Part 2)
- Failing to Keep Proper Records (Part 3)
- Failing to Pay Employees for all Hours Worked (Part 4)
- State Law Issues (Part 5)
State Law Issues (Part 5 of 5)
The FLSA is a federal statute and sets the bare minimum requirements for overtime and minimum wage for the United States. Individual states can adopt stricter overtime and minimum wage laws. A good analogy is to compare the FLSA with the ground floor of a house… the upper floors represent additional pay, perhaps a labor contract, local ordinance, or even state law allows additional pay, but you can never drop your pay the below the ground floor (FLSA).
Minimum wage laws are the perfect example of this relationship. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. The state of Illinois has adopted a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. Additionally, Cook County IL, has also implemented a $10 per hour minimum wage for certain workers within Cook County.
This unique hierarchy of federal, state, and local laws create the potential for very complex set of wage and hour laws for both employers and employees. When an employee was not paid at least minimum wage, his or her claim would most likely involve both federal, state, and even local jurisdictional law claims. This greatly increases the complexity of many FLSA law suits.
The best way to avoid state law violations is by being vigilant monitoring local wage and hour law developments. Typically, state and municipal associations that many cities and towns belong too, will have resources that help fire departments navigate this area of the law. Local legal counsel that is familiar with the FLSA is also invaluable in making the best decisions. Staying on top of these developments is the responsibility of the employer.