By Kelline R. Linton,
In a recent case, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) obtained a consent judgment in a California federal court, ordering California-based noodle manufacturer and distributor Rama Food Manufacturer Corp. to pay current and former employees $195,400 in back wages and liquidated damages, as well as $13,464 in civil penalties, for willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime and record-keeping provisions. The finding of willfulness gave rise to higher penalties and damages. Willfulness was proven after investigators found the employer had displayed labor standards posters at its facility, showing the employer was aware of the current labor laws, yet continued to commit violations of the FLSA.
The FLSA requires every employer of employees subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions to post a notice, such as the labor standards poster, explaining the Act in a conspicuous place at their business.
So what is an employer to do? Employers should continue to display these notices or posters, but be aware that they may be used as evidence of willfulness for any FLSA violations. While we do not necessarily believe that Texas courts will follow suit with the California federal court’s decision on this issue, it is wise for employers to be mindful of what the DOL is currently asking Courts to do. As such, employers should continue to seek legal advice when facing questions about FLSA compliance.