NEW LAW: US DOL Increases the Penalties for Violations of Several Laws

It’s that time of the year again …

The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 was amended and is required to annually adjust the civil monetary penalty levels due to inflation ideally no later than January 15 of each year. However due to funding issues the final 2019 ruling was delayed just a bit this year.

But don’t worry, the Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments for 2019 regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and for Occupation Safety and Health Association (OSHA) is now available.

The DOL has established that employers who repeatedly or willfully violate federal minimum wage or overtime requirements under the FLSA will receive a maximum penalty of $2,014; an increase from $1,964.

Minimum wage can vary from location to location, make sure your minimum wage is compliant for your state and county. Also make sure the proper posters are displayed in the workplace coincide with the current minimum wage.

Conduct an audit of your payroll records regarding hours worked and overtime; make sure no mistakes have happened due to possible internal changes within the company, perhaps changes within the payroll team or management.


The DOL established that if an employer is covered under the FMLA standards and fail to post the accompanying labor law posting; they could receive the maximum penalty of $173; an increase from $169 per violation.

Please remember that all covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and telling employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no eligible employees.


The DOL has also raised the penalties when it comes to OSHA violations, here is a list of the more common type of penalties that occur.

  • Serious Violation; now 13,260 from the previous $12,934
  • Other-than-serious; now 13,260 from the previous $12,934
  • Posting violations is; now $13,260 from the previous $12,934.
  • Failure to halt; now $13,260 from previous $12,934.
  • Repeated violations; now $132,598 from the previous $129,336.
  • Willful violations; now $9,472 from the previous $9,239.
    • With new maximum of $132.598 from the previous $129,336.

There are several different approaches you can take on when becoming proactive regarding OSHA violations. Developed a safety team, ask employees to get involved in reporting violations. Have safety and prevention trainings on a regular basis. Contact your work comp carrier and see if they have a representative that can come to the office and provide suggestions and safety tips.

In the end, it is always better to be proactive than reactive; therefore, whenever possible conduct an assessment of your surroundings, ask yourself if improvements can be made. Establish teams to help with projects, develop checkoff lists and internal goals.