[author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor]
HR professionals are confident of their abilities to properly classify employees as exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a new survey.
All but six of the 104 respondents to a recent survey conducted by XpertHR.com in partnership with emedia either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I feel confident that I can make well-founded employee classifications under the FLSA."
The high volume of lawsuits filed under the FLSA shows no signs of slowing, so many HR professionals may soon find out whether their confidence is justified.
In the 12-month period ending March 2011, 7,008 lawsuits were filed under the FLSA. That represents one lawsuit for every 15 employers with 100 or more employees.
At the same time, the U.S. Department of Labor continues its efforts to enforce the FLSA more aggressively. Last year, the agency found 11,409 violations of the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions. And DOL is asking Congress to fund an additional 57 full-time investigators to enforce the FLSA.
Those numbers jibe with the survey findings regarding enforcement. About one out of every nine respondents reported they had dealt with an adverse legal action contesting an employee classification, and about one in every five respondents reported they had undergone an FLSA inspection by a Wage and Hour Compliance Officer.
About two out of every three HR professionals said they had reclassified a position from exempt to nonexempt - an undertaking that can result in liability for unpaid overtime.