The Department of Labor announced yesterday in a press release that it has launched its first application for smartphones — a timesheet app to “help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.” Yes, that’s right. The DOL created an iPhone app that allows employees to track their hours and calculate the amount of wages/overtime to which they may be entitled.
As you can imagine, this news was lighting up the blog-o-sphere all day, with just about every employment law blogger we follow chiming in on the issue. Molly DiBianca at the Delaware Employment Law Blog wrote this post, which has screenshots and a good explanation of how the app works. Perhaps my favorite quote comes from Jon Hyman at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog. In his post, Jon warns:
I cannot overstate the significance of this story. The DOL is getting more and more aggressive in its willingness to help employees prosecute wage and hour violations. If you do not know whether your wage and hour practices pass muster under the [FLSA], you are sitting on a bomb waiting to detonate. And, the DOL continues to provide employees with the match to light the fuse.
Jon hit the nail on the head. As you’ve heard us say many times before, FLSA wage/overtime claims are everywhere. This is especially true here in the Middle District, where we have one of the highest rate of FLSA filings in the country. This latest announcement from the DOL serves as a reminder — and huge red warning flag — to employers that these wage/overtime cases aren’t going away anytime soon.
What should you do? Check, double check, then check again all of your classification decisions and time-keeping methods. If you don’t have employees signing off on their timecards, start NOW. While this new DOL app may give employees another method of keeping track of their time, it is not the end-all, be-all of time-keeping. The stronger the employer’s records the better, and having your employees sign off on their time records may help discredit whatever records employees create in the DOL app.