According to the FLSA Employee Exemption Handbook (August 2008, Vol 14, No.1), for the 12-month period ending in March 2007, there were 6,786 FLSA lawsuits filed in the federal district courts. These filings represent an increase of more than 50% over 2006 and do not include any state court wage and hour claims. As the article notes, state claims – particularly class actions – are easier to file and subject to more liberal state laws.

The Handbook cited several reasons for the increase in FLSA lawsuits, including (1) the downturn in the economy, which causes lay-offs and sparks litigation, (2) the financial rewards available to plaintiff attorneys, which has caused more attorneys to seek these cases, (3) new or growing companies often lack the staff to properly deal with wage and hour laws, and (4) highly publicized lawsuits that tend to spark copycat lawsuits.