Littler Mendelson, P.C. released a wage & hour report entitled, "Total Wage and Hour Compliance: An Initiative to End the Wage and Hour Class Action War." The abstract on the firm's website summarizes the focus of the report:
“Wage and hour class actions are rising sharply and the potential exposure is unprecedented. The number of wage and hour class actions filed in federal courts more than doubled from 2001 to 2006, and settlements are frequently in the multi-million dollar range. Absent a complete and comprehensive approach to tackling wage and hour compliance, the trend is unlikely to end. In this report, a Littler Task Force lays out seven key components to help employers reach and maintain a level of compliance that greatly reduces the likelihood and cost of litigation. By implementing these components, a systematic process can be developed to move the level of wage and hour compliance as close to "total" as is reasonably possibly, with a sensible allocation of corporate resources.
(Abstract: Total Wage and Hour Compliance: An Initiative to End the Wage and Hour Class Action War (April 2008) www.littler.com.)
The report has received quite a bit of attention around the blogosphere in a variety of contexts. Wage Law notes that "[s]ome of the best ideas for the plaintiff's bar have come from defense lawyers. . . . It isn't just a learning tool for employers. It also provides considerable food for thought if you are represent employees . . . ." (Walsh & Walsh, New Littler Report on Wage and Hour Compliance (May 9, 2008) wagelaw.typepad.com.) Cal Biz Lit cites from the Littler report in a detailed article about attorney fee-shifting statutes in California. (Nye, Attorneys' Fee Awards in California III: More Attorney Fee Shifting Statutes (May 14, 2008) www.calbizlit.com.) California Punitive Damages also quotes from the Little report, saying, "Indeed, a recent report issued by Littler Mendelson (which specializes in labor and employment law) indicates that at least 311 wage and hour related class actions were filed in California state courts alone in the nearly six-month period between October 1, 2007, and March 28, 2008." (Curt Cutting, Pending Appeal Will Affect Punitive Damages Claims in Wage & Hour Class Actions (May 16, 2008) calpunitives.blogspot.com.)
I have faced off against one of the report's authors, Kevin Lilly, in a wage & hour class action. He's a sharp attorney (and a gentleman), and I have no hesitation in suggesting that you take a look at the Littler report. In any case, I have to commend a defense-oriented firm that essentially says, "If you want to avoid wage & hour class actions, your only choice is to comply with the law 100% of the time." If everyone would offer sage advice like that (and if the recipients would follow it), I could get into some other line of work.