Employers who have attended our lunch and learn seminars have heard us talk time and time again about the importance of complying with state and federal wage and hour laws. Failing to do so can expose employers to costly lawsuits that may involve heightened penalties such as liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. As a local employer recently learned, however, wage and hour issues can also lead to more dangerous situations in the workplace.

Earlier this month, a former employee at an area Taco Bell demanded his final paycheck at the restaurant and refused to leave after being told that there was no paycheck available. The former employee also allegedly flashed a handgun in his waistband and threatened to shoot the restaurant’s employees and customers. He has since been arrested and is awaiting his initial hearing.

This story, while unusual, serves as a reminder that complying with wage and hour laws can help to avoid a number of serious issues.