Are You Ready for a Department of Labor Audit?
Posted on Oct 15, 2009 on Tips of the Month by
“Compliance” and “enforcement” are the catchwords of the Obama Administration. U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis recently declared:
I am committed to the vigorous enforcement of our laws and will make use of the full weight of my authority to find and prosecute violators… under my tenure, the Department of Labor will be marked by an emphasis on the protection of their rights.
As part of her enforcement plan, Secretary Solis announced the hiring of an additional 250 new wage and hour investigators.
In this climate of increased enforcement, it is crucial that you have your HR practices audited by qualified labor and employment counsel to ensure compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws. An HR audit should cover topics such as:
- Leave policies – are they in compliance?
- Covenants not to compete – do you use them, should you use them and are they enforceable?
- Pay practices, including who must receive overtime, pay frequency and mandatory meal periods.
- Discharge procedures including when the final paycheck must be delivered and the employee’s entitlement (or not) to “earned” vacation.
- Hiring processes including the forms you must send the state and your new employee.
- Employer obligations to provide time off and pay for jury duty.
- Privacy issues, including the growing trend of laws protecting Social Security Numbers, free speech and an employee’s right to engage in legal activities (that the employer may oppose).
In addition to checking compliance, good counsel can help you evaluate your HR strategies. In particular, have you created an issue free work environment which satisfies your employees, or are there looming issues that are distracting and will distract your employees from giving the company their best efforts? To maximize profit and protect your business, you need to know where your employees stand. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.965.0560.