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The FLSA and how it applies to public and private employers

In New York, both public and private employers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. There are differences between how the law applies, however. It is important for employers to understand the rules for their particular types of businesses so that they can avoid potential liability.

Private employers that meet the enterprise test are covered by the FLSA. Under this test, companies that have annual gross incomes of at least $500,000 and that engage in interstate commerce must comply with the FLSA. Engaging in interstate commerce includes many activities, including making shipments to other states or ordering products from other states, routinely mailing letters to other states and calling people and businesses in other states. This means that most private employers must comply with the FLSA.

Public employers are covered by the FLSA even if they do not meet the enterprise test for private employers. Public agencies are able to give their employees compensatory time off instead of overtime, however. While state governments are covered by the FLSA, they are immune from lawsuits by individuals. The Department of Labor is able to bring lawsuits against state governments on behalf of workers, however.

It is important for public and private employers to understand the requirements of the FLSA as they apply to their businesses. Experienced employment law attorneys may advise their clients about the FLSA and what it requires of them. This may help the businesses to make sure that they are adhering to the laws so that they can avoid making potentially costly mistakes. If a dispute arises between the employer and an employee, the attorney may represent the employer's interests while seeking a favorable resolution. Businesses may want to consult with experienced attorneys to learn more about state wage and hour laws as well.

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