Hire Attorney Early & Protect Against DOL Investigator Overreach

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Hire Attorney Early & Protect Against DOL Investigator Overreach

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DOL investigator

Although being investigated by the Department of Labor (DOL) may not be something you worry about every day, it is a very real possibility. DOL investigations have skyrocketed since COVID, along with penalties when compliance violations are uncovered. And if a DOL investigator shows up at your door, it can easily send you into panic mode if you aren’t prepared.

That’s why it’s imperative that you have a response plan in place. The best way to do this is to identify an employment attorney you can trust who will be there when you need them.

Check out four benefits you’ll get by involving an attorney early in the DOL investigation process rather than waiting.

Get the Insider Scoop About the DOL Investigator

Having an employment attorney who has experience with past investigations conducted by local DOL investigators, or the office that investigator works for, can be a significant advantage to you.

Your attorney’s knowledge of local DOL investigations can provide you with significant insight into how your investigation may proceed. For instance, if your investigator has a history of digging up violations that weren’t part of the initial scope of the query, chances are pretty good that a similar situation can happen for your practice. Accordingly, you can take action before you ever get investigated to mitigate the risk and head off additional problems before they occur.

Without an employment attorney’s input early in the investigation process, you and your team are flying blind. You won’t know what investigator requests you can push back on, or when you are required to comply. You could easily do or say something that could get you into more trouble, resulting in even higher penalties.

Strategize Your Initial Response

Your first response to a DOL investigator can set the tone for the entire investigation. If you’re clear and concise, and answer only the questions that the investigator asks, you may stand a better chance of getting out of the process with few or no penalties. On the other hand, if you’re aggressive and evasive, or offer up additional information that wasn’t requested at first, it could open doors for the investigators to broaden the scope of their search, which could lead to bigger trouble for your practice.

Getting your employment attorney involved immediately can help you avoid mistakes that could get you into more trouble. Your attorney will help you carefully strategize your response to anything the DOL investigator asks. You’ll be able to produce the evidence required and, hopefully, minimize the impact of any penalties that may come your way.

Identify Potential Issues

Just because your practice is being investigated for one problem doesn’t mean you can’t be penalized if the investigator uncovers something else. However, if you’re able to identify and correct these potential problems prior to the DOL investigator’s visit, you’ll be able to eliminate — or at the very least limit the severity of — any potential consequences.

Taking the time to work with an employment attorney well before a DOL investigation can help reduce your financial and legal risk. Ask your attorney to go through everything about your wage and labor practices to ensure your compliance. You want your attorney to point out even the smallest violation so you can resolve it before you are investigated.

Limit the Scope

Sometimes, a DOL investigator will ask for everything under the sun when investigating an issue in the hopes that you’ll produce evidence of additional violations. To avoid this, your attorney should review all requests before you respond, and all documents before you send them.

Additionally, your attorney can help provide you with the legal reasons to push back on the investigator over these requests, helping to limit the scope of their investigations and better protect you from additional reviews.

Having an experienced employment attorney with a sharp eye review your wage and labor habits can be initially costly, but in the long run, it could save you time, stress, and thousands in penalties. Look at it as an investment to help you get prepared should a DOL investigator show up at your door.

To get all the practical strategies to help you comply with FLSA regulations and avoid DOL penalties, check out Healthcare Training Leader’s on-demand training session, Protect Against FLSA Labor Inspection and Costly Violation Penalties. This 90-minute training session gives you the tools you need to be ready for anything the DOL can throw your way.