Department of Labor Launches Smartphone App to Arm Employees

May 31, 2011, 10:18 AM

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") announced the launch of its first application for smartphones, an electronic timesheet that helps employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.

Why would an employee need this application? Simply put, to support a wage-hour claim or assist in a DOL investigation of his or her employer. The DOL's press release announcing the new application described its importance as follows:

"This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers records, workers now can keep their own records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records."
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to keep accurate records of the hours worked by employees. If a DOL investigation reveals that an employer has failed to keep accurate records, the DOL is likely to determine that the hours logged by an employee using the DOL's smartphone application are accurate. Such a scenario could be very costly for an employer, particularly if the employee uses the smartphone application to record inflated hours of work.

With wage-hour claims and DOL investigations on the rise, employers should make sure that their pay practices and recording keeping procedures are in compliance with the FLSA and DOL requirements. --David J. Sullivan