DOL Increased Penalties for Employers

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has increased penalties for violating federal minimum wage, overtime, and posting and safety requirements, effective January 23, 2019.

The increased monetary fines apply to penalties assessed under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

The DOL and other federal agencies must issue annual adjustments to penalty amounts in order to account for inflation, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

The federal agencies and regulations cover the following:

Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA): applies to most private employers and prohibits the use of lie detector tests for pre-employment screening or during employment.

FLSA: this federal law establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards that affect full and part-time employees in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments.

FMLA: allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, but job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It also requires the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

OSHA: is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and requires compliance with standards to provide employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards. Employers in specified low risk industries are exempt.

What are the increased penalties?

EPPA: The penalty for violations of the EPPA increased to $21,039 (up from $20,521)

FLSA:employers that repeatedly or willfully violate federal minimum wage or overtime requirements will receive a maximum monetary penalty of $2,014 (up from $1,964). Violations of the FLSA’s child labor restrictions increased to a maximum of $12,845 per under-18-year-old employee.

FMLA: employers covered by FMLA are required to post a notice (in a conspicuous place) explaining the rule’s provisions and information regarding the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division. Failure to comply with this requirement are increasing from $169 to $173.

OSHA: the maximum penalty for violations of safety standards classified as series and ‘other-than-serious,’ and posting violations are increasing from $12,934 to $13,260 per violation.

For failure to abate violations, the increased penalty is $13,260 per day (up from $12,934 per).

Minimum penalties for willful violations increased from $9,239 to $9,472; for maximum penalties the increase is $132,598 (up from $129,336).

The maximum penalty for repeat violations is increased to $132,598 (up from $129,336).

Read more on the DOL’s final rule on all penalties here: DOL Penalties updated 1.23.19.