Previously, we discussed the NERA Economic Consulting report’s key findings and trends in wage and hour settlements as well as trends in the Department of Labor’s reported wage and hour data. In this post, we will explore how the findings of the NERA report compare to the Department of Labor’s wage and hour data. The intent of the comparison is to see if there was an overlap in the defendants who settled civil cases and those who were found by the Department of Labor to have Fair Labor Standards Act violations. Since many of the allegations related to Fair Labor Standards Act are the same as those brought in by state court wage and hour civil litigation, the NERA data was matched with the Department of Labor data to observe comparisons.
The limitations of the available data make it impossible to do exact matches of each investigation to each settlement, however, you can identify and match the companies in both databases. The NERA database was compared with the Department of Labor data to see if any companies were in both databases for the January 2007 – March 2015 period. This time period restriction exists because a company could show up multiple times in either database, so there isn’t a definitive way to tie an investigation to a specific settlement. Also, no open or close dates exist in the Department of Labor data, so there is no way to effectively estimate which Department of Labor investigation is related to which settlement.
Six key findings from comparing the NERA and Department of Labor wage and hour databases:
- 59% percent of defendants in the NERA database with a settled wage and hour civil case during the designed time period also had a Department of Labor investigation.
- Of those 59% of defendants, 21% were found to have a non-Fair Labor Standards Act violation.
- 44% of the defendants that matched in the databases had at least one Fair Labor Standards Act violation.
- Overall, 60% of the companies with wage and hour settlements either had no investigation or were found to have no violation.
- Of the defendants who were found with a Fair Labor Standards Act violation, 86% paid at least some back wages to employees.
- Of the back wages that were awarded to employees, 53% were for overtime, 26% were for overtime and minimum wage and 7% were for minimum wage only.
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