Wage and Hour Laws: Personal Liability Risks

The dangers involved in complying with federal and state wage-and-hour laws aren’t risks just to legal employers, usually corporations. In some instances, the risks are to individuals involved in non-compliance or violations.

Anyone whose position in the workplace involves making decisions and taking actions that affect employees can be the target of legal actions leading to personal liability – in certain situations, in certain federal court jurisdictions, and in many states.

Here are some of the major laws that could cause personal liability risks for workplace leaders:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • The federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
  • Migrations laws enforced by Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Certain rules enforced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

How can workplace leaders have a personal risk involving employee-protection and employee-rights laws?  Some laws – either explicitly in specific laws or because of court decisions interpreting laws – put obligations on the employer and then extend the obligations to agents of the employer.  And when executives, managers, supervisors and other employees make decisions and take actions involving employees, they can be considered agents of the employer.


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