Mark Shank and Bridget Blinn are lawyers at my firm who focus on advising employers on the Fair Labor Standards Act. Their recent article, What is Work? FLSA Pitfalls at the Beginning and End of the Work Day tackles this statute:
The basic requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) are easy to understand. Employees must be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (per the latest increase that went into effect in July 2009). Employers must also generally pay nonexempt employees overtime at a rate of at least one and one half times the regular rate of pay for all hours work in excess of 40 hours in a work week.
Unfortunately violations of the FLSA can be costly for the unsuspecting employer:
These two seemingly simple requirements are surprisingly difficulty to implement. Getting it wrong can be costly: Employers found liable for violations of the FLSA may be assessed damages for the unpaid overtime or minimum wages, liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid overtime or minimum wages, and reasonable attorneys fees and costs. Willful violations may carry criminal penalties upon conviction with fines of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both, and there are also civil money penalties (payable to the Secretary of Labor) for repeated and willful violations of minimum wage and overtime requirements.
Their article provides an up to date perspective on the FLSA and is worth a look.