Drag Your Feet, Go To Jail

Not too long ago, the owner of an auto glass shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, discovered to his chagrin that the Department of Labor (DOL) isn’t messing around when, as part of an audit, they ask for business records. Most of what they ask for are records you’re legally required to keep, and foot-dragging or outright failure to produce those documents tends to raise the investigators’ suspicions.

On June 14, 2014, DOL investigators requested documentation related to his payroll records, sales volume and employee documentation from Walter Dill, owner of the somewhat ironically named ASAP Auto Glass & Detailing. For whatever reason, Dill couldn’t (or wouldn’t) produce the records “ASAP.” On April 7, 2015, nearly 10 months after the original request, a U.S. District Court judge granted the Secretary of Labor’s petition to enforce a subpoena for the records.

You might think that would be enough… and you would be wrong. On May 29, Dill was found by the judge to be in contempt of the order. But the judge still gave him one last chance to comply, scheduling a final hearing on July 15, 2015, more than a year after the original request.

Dill did attend the July 15 hearing. While he brought some documents, the DOL determined that the information was incomplete, and therefore didn’t fulfill the judge’s order.

Dill asked for even more time, but given that it had already been over a year since the original request, the judge had him immediately arrested on charges of contempt of court, pending production of the missing records.

When the DOL requests business documents as part of a wage and hour investigation, your best course of action is (1) consult with your attorney to ensure you only give them what they need — no point in handing the DOL extra ammunition! — and (2) give them what they’re asking for before their deadline. In other words, nothing more, but nothing less, either.

In addition to recording time more accurately and streamlining your payroll preparation process, automated systems like AcroTime and timeQplus make this kind of data retrieval a breeze. (So much better than crawling around a dusty storage room, digging through filing boxes and photocopying paper time sheets!) A system like that could have saved Mr. Dill a lot of trouble, not to mention keeping him out of jail. Just one more reason for any of you still using paper time sheets to upgrade “ASAP”!

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