The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires all covered employers to pay a premium to nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Generally, an employer’s liability for failing to pay the proper overtime rate to employees is limited by the two-year statute of limitations imposed by the FLSA. However, the Act’s statute of limitations for overtime violations may be extended to three years when an employer’s failure to pay overtime arises from a willful violation. To be willful, the violation must not be merely negligent.
Whether a violation is willful is largely determined by the factual circumstances that led to the violation. What happens when, unbeknownst to supervisors, an “entry-level employee” commits the violation?