In a targeted effort, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) has recently conducted investigations of countless construction businesses. Whether it’s reviewing the firm’s company records and employment practices or privately interviewing workers, several DOL investigations have resulted in construction companies receiving fines in the $100,000 range.
In this two-part article, Nashville construction attorneys from Cotney Construction Law will discuss your options when you receive an appointment letter from the DOL. Remember, if you fail to comply with a DOL investigation, your business may incur significant fines and other penalties. To ensure DOL compliance, speak with a Nashville construction attorney.
The Purpose of an Appointment Letter
If your construction firm receives an appointment letter from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), it’s critical that you take this notice seriously and begin developing a strategy in preparation for the likelihood of an investigation. Here are some of the common reasons why construction firms receive an appointment letter from the WHD:
- The primary reason for issuing this letter is for the DOL to notify the business owner that an investigation is underway.
- The letter will also detail the motive for the investigation. For example, an investigator will be reviewing whether or not the company is in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- The letter will include the date and time the investigator intends on visiting the premises or a request for the business owner to contact the agency by a deadline. The letter will also request that the business owner be present for this investigation.
- There will be a description of the investigation process. For example, will the investigator review company records, tour the jobsite, speak with employees privately, or perform any other investigatory efforts? The letter may detail this information.
- By design, an appointment letter facilitates what important steps the owner needs to take to ensure compliance with the investigation process. Typically, this is a request to access all necessary company records including:
- Employee records
- Financial statements
- Payroll records
- Employee job titles and descriptions of work
- Medical or disability records
- Birthdates for all workers under the age of 18
- Compensatory time and overtime pay records
- Special minimum wage exemptions and other pay deductions
- Wage survey data
- Employment eligibility forms
- The letter will also list the investigator’s name, title, and contact information.
In order to learn about how to respond to a DOL investigation and the steps to take to prepare for an investigation, please read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.