Wage & Hour Audit, Assessment, and Counseling

Wage & Hour Classification and Pay Practices Assessments

Experience shows that the best defense against wage and hour liability is to assess and, where necessary, to correct current wage and hour policies and practices to bring companies into compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws.

Employers depend on Seyfarth Shaw's Wage & Hour Compliance Reviews and Assessments team to guide them through the morass of regulations for employee compensation. Our attorneys are adept at analyzing questions under federal and state laws on such topics such as employee and worker classification, overtime calculation, compensability of pre- / post-shift activities, training time, and meal and rest breaks, to name just a few.

We routinely assist clients in designing and redesigning jobs and their accompanying job descriptions to assign or maintain exempt status, to ease transitions from exempt to non-exempt status or vice versa, to account for all hours worked, and to pay overtime compensation properly.  We also lead our clients through formal and informal audits, staging compliance reviews in phases, thereby minimizing disruption to our clients’ businesses and allowing for easier budgeting.  When changes need to be made, we work with our clients to implement those changes and effectively communicate them to their workforce with minimal disruption to productivity and risk of claims.  Our vast experience allows us to arrive at creative solutions to address critical needs without necessarily going through laborious full "wall-to-wall" assessments.

Our assessments include:

  • Classification Reviews - A review of policies and practices to determine whether employees are properly classified as exempt from state and federal minimum wage and overtime requirements or as independent contractors,
  • Pay Practices Reviews - A review of policies and practices for compliance with federal and state laws governing regular rate and overtime pay, minimum wage, uncompensated work periods, pooling and distribution of gratuities, meal breaks, the timeliness of wage payments, vacation pay, and Sunday and holiday premium pay.
  • Wall-to-Wall Reviews - A review that combines a Classification Assessment and a Pay Practices Assessment, and thus permits a comprehensive review of exposure while achieving economies in human capital and expenditures.

We recognize that assessments of differing scopes, geographies, workforce size, numbers of positions, complexities of policies and practices, among other issues call for varying fee arrangements. Our efficient and comprehensive assessment tools—developed through our experience with Lean Six Sigma methodologies and assisted by our group of experienced project managers—enable us to provide alternative, fixed-fee, or detailed-budget proposals, or a combination of these arrangements.

Wage & Hour Counseling

While it is true that periodic wage and hour assessments allow an employer to understand whether its practices comply with local, state, and federal laws and to build best practices for prospective implementation for continued compliance, we realize that issues affecting employee timekeeping, pay, classification, and claims arise daily.  Our wage and hour practitioners are skilled at providing businesses practical advice that enables our clients’ in-house counsel and other stakeholders to react quickly and with confidence to issues ranging from the simplest to the most complex.  We strive, in collaboration with our clients, to ensure that our advice is clear, practical, and, where possible, definitive.

Not every wage and hour question requires escalation to the highest levels.  Although we are accustomed to providing advice in the boardroom and C-suite, we understand that our clients often have sophisticated legal functions and that they know their business far better than we do.  We offer an array of no- or low-cost resources that guide our clients’ in-house, HR, and payroll professionals through the resolution of concerns that might not warrant involving outside counsel.  Among the resources we provide:

  • Those available at Seyfarth Shaw’s FLSA Exemption and Resource Center
  • The Wage and Hour Law Handbook, which contains practical guidance, forms, and other resources (available upon request)
  • The FLSA Classification Change Implementation and Communication Package (available upon request)

Often, clients seek our teams’ guidance as they consider the acquisition of or merger with another business.  Our ability to conduct an incisive due diligence review of the target’s practices is matched only by our skill in assisting with compliance and integration on Day One following the deal.  We also assist clients that have been targeted for acquisition and that need assistance to make sure that their practices are in compliance (or that they understand the risk of identified practices) in order to attract and satisfy the right buyer.