Food Industry Targeted

By Peter A. Schneider

The plaintiff’s bar and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are targeting the food industry for enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It is important that businesses in the food service industry understand their requirements under the FLSA or risk facing litigation and the associated costs and penalties.

The FLSA and New York State Labor Law, for example, mandate payment of a minimum hourly wage (NYS – $7.15, FLSA $7.25 effective 7/24/09) and payment of overtime at 1½ times the regular hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. An employer who loses a wage/hour claim may pay double the unpaid wages due to a statutory penalty plus interest and the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. Worse, many cases involve multiple plaintiffs or a class/ collective action.

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