On Feb. 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release announcing the latest initiative of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division. According to the announcement, the impact the global supply chain demand and constraints has placed on the warehouse and logistic industries is “enormous,” warranting the Wage and Hour Division to focus on protecting the wages and workplace rights of the workers who work in those industries.
The warehouse and logistics initiative will focus on four areas of enforcement, ensuring workers are:
- Paid all their legally earned wages, including minimum and overtime
- Safe from workplace harassment and retaliation when they claim their rights
- Not prevented from taking time off from work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Not improperly classified as independent contractors (due to the complexity of the independent contractor analysis, we recommend working with legal counsel on this action item)
The jobs held by workers in the warehouse and logistics industries that will be of focus is broad and includes “warehouse workers, delivery drivers, truck drivers and others in the warehousing and logistics industries.” According to the Acting Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, Jessica Looman, the Wage and Hour Division “will use all of its tools” to ensure employers comply with federal labor laws. The tools referenced include education, outreach and “vigorous enforcement.”
Key takeaways for warehouse and logistics companies
Now is the time to review your employment policies and practices to ensure they are up to date and administered consistently. This review should include:
- Examining your payroll practices and recordkeeping procedures, and working with any third-party vendor to ensure compliant administration
- Reviewing your harassment and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies to ensure they are up to date and that your employees (especially management) have been properly trained on your policy and investigation protocols
- Reviewing your FMLA policy, forms and procedures to ensure they are up to date and confirming those in charge of administration of FMLA are properly trained
- Confirming that any job positions held by independent contractors satisfy the independent contractor requirements
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Godfrey & Kahn can help, contact a member of our Labor, Employment & Immigration Law Practice Group.