February 12, 2013 9:05 AM
Virtually every company in America is bound by the Federal Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).
This law "regulates the status of employees (versus independent contractors) and provides for a minimum wage and overtime unless the employee meets an exempt classification." However, the scope of this law is not simply limited to employees’ wages.
Protecting Whistle Blowers
Did you know that an added feature of the FLSA is the protection of employees who may be labeled "whistle blowers"?
Under the FLSA, an employee cannot be retaliated against for filling an official complaint against their employer with a government agency. According to an article on JD Supra’s legal website, a recent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling has expanded this law to include "intra-company" complaints. They have also stipulated that this complaint can be in written ororal form.
Forming a Written Policy
As with any kind of employee-related issue, the best protection for an employer is the proper documentation of any employee events. By documentation, I don’t just mean that a supervisor should write it down and file it. All the documentation in the world doesn’t mean a thing unless the employees know what the rules of the game are.
That’s why every company should have a written policy on how to handle employee complaints—and every employee should know exactly what that policy is. The tricky part is knowing just how much is too little and when you may have gone too far in setting up your company rules.
Avoiding FLSA Issues
Companies with the strongest Human Resource infrastructures in place are the ones who are least susceptible to FLSA penalties or potential employee lawsuits. To help protect themselves from ever-evolving government regulations, companies are looking for assistance in employer liability management.
For many companies, a Professional Employer Organization like GMS can help.