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Violating Labor Department Rules Will Cost More in 2018

Jan. 2, 2018, 8:38 PM

• Employers will have to shell out more for violations under final rule

• Average increase will be about 2 percent

[Image "" (src=https://biglawbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/172564955.jpg)]Employers that violate laws enforced by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division will face slightly higher civil penalties in 2018.

The tab for failing to comply with federal rules pertaining to family and medical leave, child labor, foreign workers, and construction contracts will increase about 2 percent across the board in 2018, under afinal ruleannounced by the DOL Dec. 29.

Federal law requires agencies to adjust civil monetary penalties annually for inflation.

The rule will raise the maximum penalty for repeated or willful minimum wage and overtime violations from $1,925 to $1,964. An employer who fails to post information about employees’ rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act will be subject to a $169 fine, up from $166.

Fines for improperly requiring or asking an employee or prospective employee to take a lie detector test, or retaliating against an employee or prospective employee who refuses, will rise from $20,111 to $20,521.

Child Labor Penalties Climb

Penalties for child labor violations also will increase. Employing children could result in fines of $12,529, up from $12,278. Fines associated with serious workplace injuries or deaths to children will increase from $55,808 to $56,947.

In addition, it will become more expensive for employers to flout rules governing foreign workers in specialty occupations (those with H-1B visas). Retaliation and discrimination penalties will rise from $7,370 to $7,520. Willful violations that displace a U.S. worker will increase from $51,588 to $52,641.

Violations of rules for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program also will lighten employers’ wallets more than they used to. Failing to cooperate in an investigation could cost an employer $5,695, up from $5,581, and improperly rejecting or displacing a U.S. worker will subject an employer to a $16,917 penalty, up from $16,579.

H-2A work contract violations will cost $1,692, up from $1,658, with fines for willful violations costing $5,695, up from $5,581. Employer violations of safety and health provisions related to H-2A workers’ housing or transportation will cost $56,391, up from $55,263, if a death or serious injury results.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gayle Cinquegrani in Washington atgcinquegrani@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el Meyer atjmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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