A visit from a Department of Labor investigator can inspire a range of emotions, including anxiety, nervous anticipation, and even fear. Recently, we’ve discussed some of the issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department of Labor (DOL) is the organization in charge of monitoring compliance with the FLSA, among other labor laws. So, if you do receive a visit from a DOL investigator, you have reason for concern. However, before you panic, you should stop and think carefully about how to best proceed.
In this post, we will go over the essential points of a DOL investigation, the type of documentation you should gather, and the other ways in which you can prepare to place yourself in the optimal situation.
Overview of a DOL Investigation
If you receive a visit from a DOL investigator, the chances are high that you’ve been accused of violating the FLSA in some way. This investigator could be inquiring about some other matter, but we will confine our discussion to potential FLSA violations for this article. As you may recall from our previous discussions, the FLSA regulates such issues as overtime pay, minimum pay, and other employment related matters. This means that, when a DOL investigator shows up at your door, an employee or competitor likely filed a complaint against you. There is also the possibility that the DOL is conducting a targeted investigation, or a repeat investigation based on a previous case.
In any event, the DOL wants to either substantiate a complaint, or simply verify that you are in compliance with FLSA guidelines. The DOL investigator may contact you initially in one of several different ways: letter, telephone call, or in-person visit.
Prepare Your Documentation
After your conversation with the DOL investigator, you will want to collect all the documentation you need to demonstrate compliance with the FLSA. Restrict your collection process to those documents which relate to the charges in the complaint. In other words, if the complaint alleges that you’ve failed to give overtime pay, then gather all the paystubs, bank records, or other documents which you need to counter this charge. Depending on the charge, this may mean that you’ll have to track down a wide range of documents. Remember that a DOL complaint could involve all sorts of different charges, such as failure to provide the minimum pay, employing underage workers, misclassifying independent contractors, and so forth.
Respond Quickly & Candidly
The next piece of advice is to respond quickly and candidly to all inquiries made by the DOL investigator. Be prepared to provide the investigator with whatever documents he or she requires to complete his or her investigation. You should be prepared to do this regardless of the merits of the complaint alleged against you. Even if the complaint is frivolous, communicating quickly and effectively with the investigator will only ensure that the baseless claim is thrown out as rapidly as possible.
Contact the Trembly Law Firm Today
Of course, another piece of advice is to procure adequate counsel. Dealing with the DOL can be intimidating, even for baseless complaints. If you need help, reach out to a qualified expert. If you receive a complaint, give the Trembly Law Firm a call. We have a team of qualified lawyers who can assist as you attempt to defend yourself against an FLSA violation allegation. Give us a call at (305) 431-5678 today for additional information, or to have one of our lawyers listen to your case.