The costliness of losing a Fair Labor Standards Act was recently illustrated in a case that was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. In Monroe v. FTS USA LLC, the jury found that a cable company had improperly withheld overtime wages which should have been paid to 296 cable technicians. The court eventually awarded $1.9 million in compensatory damages to the technicians. The court then awarded an additional $1.9 million in punitive damages because the jury had found that the cable company had willfully withheld the wages. And the cable company will almost certainly be required to pay the technician’s reasonable legal fees – on top of the legal fees that the cable company incurred itself over the course of four years of litigation.
Cases like Monroe make clear that employers must be sure that they are paying all of the wages that are due to their employees because the cost associated with failing to do so will likely be significantly higher.