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Attorneys in Oklahoma expect workplace investigations to rise

The Oklahoman - February 6, 2011

Charles S. Plumb

Paul A. Ross

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorneys Charlie Plumb and Paul Ross were featured in The Oklahoman about McAfee & Taft's webcast presented to more than 400 human resources professionals across Oklahoma. During the hour-long presentation, Plumb and Ross discussed what employers can expect in the way of increased enforcement by federal regulatory agencies as they broadly interpret current regulations and propose new rules more in the favor of workers.

Ross noted that the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division has begun contracting with private attorneys to pursue private wage claims and process more claims. 

He explained that investigations may be skipped and the claimant sent directly to private practice attorneys to do work traditionally done within the purview of the agency. Ross believes that defending of claims will be more difficult and expensive going forward due to the fact that investigators are more interested in resolving claims and private attorneys are more interested in fees.

Another reason for the rise in enforcement is due to more aggressive employee reviews. 

"Employers can expect ramped-up discrimination investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," said Plumb, noting record charges and fines in 2010. "There are more field investigators who have been trained to take more aggressive reviews, from requesting documents and interviewing employees to subpoenaing your temp agencies, the company that does your background tests and other third parties," he reported to listeners.

Plumb and Ross discussed more on this topic along with other workplace areas under scrutiny in the webcast, aired January 25th, which can be viewed here.

You can read the entire Oklahoman article here.