Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Tax Payroll Administration Guide Newsletter, in “Many Companies Top $1 Million in Wage-Case Settlements: Study,” by Michael Trimarchi.

Following is an excerpt:

About 450 large U.S. companies each paid more than $1 million in wage-claim settlements since 2000, with one company topping $1 billion, a study of federal and state court records showed.

In all, companies paid billions of dollars in settlements and penalties to resolve wage claims brought by employees. The yearlong study of 1,283 cases that were resolved in favor of employees was published June 5 in a report, “Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers.”

In those cases, employers paid $8.8 billion to workers as diversified as cashiers, guards, financial advisers, and pharmaceutical sales representatives, the report said. Additionally, the employers paid $400 million in penalties to the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, it said.

But a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed companies to require workers to pursue wage claims against employers through arbitration rather than in class lawsuits could limit settlement costs and fines for employers, the report said. …

Paul DeCamp, co-chairman of the national wage and hour practice group at the law firm Epstein Becker Green in Washington, said the term “wage theft” is overly broad and pejorative. “It’s not a legal term,” he said.

DeCamp dismissed the general notion that some companies figure in wage-claim settlements as a cost of doing business.

“As a cost of doing business, that companies are purposely violating the law, that’s not how most companies do business,” said DeCamp, a former administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. “I don’t think any company looks at a wage and hour settlement as a cost of doing business.”

Most settlements do not resolve the underlying legal issue, DeCamp said. “In most cases we hear about, the court does not rule one way or another. What we do end up with is a settlement that resolves the litigation.”

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