Also, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division may initiate investigations and conduct inspections in other companies to prevent violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
During an investigation, the Department of Labor reviews the company's documents and reports and conducts face-to-face interviews with employees. The audited records may include the company's annual revenues sheets, what goods or services the company produces or provides, or payroll records. Any related materials can be copied. Employee interviews are needed to verify the correctness of the payroll and describe employees' responsibilities in sufficient detail. Interviews are usually conducted at the employer's premises, but other places may be requested. Current and former employees can also be interviewed by phone or mail by completing a written interview form.
After collecting evidence and completing interviews, the
Department of Labor will determine if there were any violations. If it is determined that the employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Department of Labor will issue instructions to remedy the violation. Suppose it is determined that the wage arrears have been compensated. In that case, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division may continue to monitor the payment of future wages for some time.
Suppose the employer is unwilling or unable to comply with the decision made after investigation.
In that case, the Department of Labor can file a claim for compensation of wages and damages. The Department of Labor may get an injunction to ensure that an employer or company complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act and does not illegally withhold wages and overtime due to the employee.
An employee can also file his own case against the employer to recover wages and reimburse damages in addition to attorney and legal fees. However, an employee cannot start his own lawsuit if claims against the company have already been filed by the Secretary of State or if supervision over the compensation of unpaid wages is pending.
It should be remembered that these procedures have time limits. The employee has two years to initiate an investigation or file a claim for a compensation. Suppose it will be established that the violation of wage or overtime laws was intentional. In that case, the statute of limitations is increased to three years. In addition, civil fines for every violation of minimum wage and overtime can be up to $ 1,000 per violation. The penalties for willful violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act can be even more severe, with fines of up to $ 10,000 and criminal prosecution.