When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) into law, it was a landmark and welcome law that originally only applied to about 20% of the labor force (mostly factory workers). The law banned oppressive child labor, set minimum wage at 25 cents per hour, and set a maximum workweek at 44 hours.
Over the past 75 years, the FLSA has morphed into a complex and highly-litigated area of the law that regulates nearly all workplaces. It is now almost universally despised by employers. Decades of amendments have made the FLSA so expansive it requires multi-volume sets of legal treatises to fully comprehend, its nuances ensure almost no employer can fully comply, and plaintiffs’ attorneys crank out lawsuits by the dozens, knowing a single dollar owed entitles them to recover all of the attorney’s fees spent prosecuting the case.