UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CIVIL MONETARY PENALTIES INCREASED

Effective Jan. 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) increased the civil monetary penalties for violating federal minimum wage, overtime, posting and safety requirements. The higher penalty amounts apply to penalties assessed after that date for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. To minimize potential liability, employers should review their pay practices, postings, and safety protocols to ensure compliance.

BACKGROUND

Adjusted Penalties

On Jan. 23, 2019, the DOL published a final rule setting forth annual inflation adjustments for 2019, increasing civil monetary penalties under the FLSA, FMLA, OSH Act and other laws it enforces. The higher levels apply to penalties assessed by the agency after Jan. 23, 2017 for associated violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015.

FLSA

The FLSA and applicable DOL regulations provide for the assessment of civil monetary penalties for any person who repeatedly or willfully violates federal minimum wage or overtime requirements. Under the final rule:

  • The maximum penalty for repeated and willful violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions increases from $1,964 to $2,014.

Because penalties are normally assessed on a per-employee basis, employer liability can quickly become substantial if noncompliant pay practices affect a number of workers.

FMLA

Every employer covered by the FMLA is required to conspicuously post a notice explaining the statute’s provisions and providing information for filing complaints of violations with the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division. Under the final rule:

  • The maximum penalty increases from $169 to $173.

OSHA

Under the final rule, the maximum penalty for serious, other-than-serious, and posting violations increases from $12,934 to $13,260 for each violation.  The maximum penalty for failure to abate violations increases from $12,934 to $13,260per day.  The minimum and maximum penalties for willful violations increase from $9,239 to $9,472 and from $129,336 to $132,598, respectively.  Finally, the maximum penalty for repeated violations also increases from $129,336to $132,598.

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