Experts in Economics & Statistics

A consistent choice for industry leading companies
and the nation's preeminent law firms for over 40 years.

 

Welch Consulting has extensive experience addressing the major areas of wage & hour claims: meal and rest break violations, off-the-clock work, misclassification, time shaving / record keeping violations, alternative work arrangements, and benefit payment disputes. Our economists are retained regularly on matters brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as state-specific statutes and Department of Labor investigations.

More About Wage & Hour

Case Insight: Benefit Payment Disputes

The Claim:

Employees at a leading manufacturer of printers and related supplies alleged that the firm’s use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy was not valid, and the Courts upheld the challenge.

Our Findings:

We were retained to estimate the value of the illegally-forfeited vacation time. Data tracking vacation accrual was maintained, but there was no information regarding the days forfeited by employees. We used the company’s data to estimate the number of days forfeited, the applicable regular rate, total damages, and state-specific penalties. Our findings were presented in expert testimony at trial.

Case Insight: Meal & Rest Violations

The Claim:

Cashiers at a retail chain alleged that their meal periods were short and interrupted because they were regularly called back to work before the end of their break. The time clocks were set up so that once an employee clocked out for a meal, she could not clock back in for at least 30 minutes, making it impossible for the time clock data to reflect these violations.

Our Findings:

To test the validity of these claims, we linked the cash register data that tracks sales transactions to the time clock data to see if cashiers were actually working during the time in which they were clocked out. Instances of such behavior were infrequent and restricted to a small number of employees.

This analysis helped defeat class certification.

Case Insight: Misclassification

The Claim:

A food service company was charged with misclassifying its managers as exempt employees. Plaintiffs claimed that their job function was similar to non-exempt employees.

Our Findings:

We created an Index of Managerial Activity based on the number of hires, terminations, promotions, salary changes, and other activities at the store consistent with managerial and not non-exempt activity. This analysis revealed sufficient variation in managerial activities across the purported class to reject the claim of a common lack of managerial duties and called into question the purported lack of decision-making authority among class members.

Case Insight: Off the Clock Work

The Claim:

Tax professionals claimed that their supervisors prohibited them from entering their actual work time on time sheets to avoid payment of overtime. Given the nature of the allegations, the time records were of no use in analyzing the claims.

Our Findings:

Because their work required them to be logged-on to the phone system, we collected phone log data and compared the duration between the first and last activity of the day to the work hours on the time sheets. This analysis revealed a very small instance of potential work time exceeding paid time and directly contradicted plaintiffs’ claims.

Wage & Hour Representative Engagements

Meal and Rest Break Violations

Welch Consulting was retained by a national delivery company to analyze and testify about nationwide class action claims of interrupted breaks and off-the-clock work. Our economists integrated a complex array of timekeeping data with data tracking deliveries and pick-ups to determine how often breaks were interrupted. Our analysis of the data showed that interrupted breaks were uncommon and largely concentrated among a small number of employees.

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a California construction company in a potential missed meal and rest break class action. We organized GPS data from cement trucks and data on movement of cement drums on vehicles to assess the frequency of missed meal breaks.

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for several East Coast medical services providers whose systems for automatically deducting time from meal breaks were challenged in different class actions. In each case, we examined timecard data to assess the impact of their auto-deduction systems and the strength of the class certification positions.  

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a California hospital to examine timecard and payroll records to determine the incidence rate of premiums paid for special (short) shifts for 12-hour workers and to examine the incidence and value of missed meal and rest breaks in a class action lawsuit. We developed an understanding of payroll practices and changes in those practices over time and calculated potential damages under various legal arguments.

Off the Clock Work

Welch Consulting was retained by a national call center to assist with a DOL investigation and a hybrid case (including both FLSA claims and state claims from multiple states) regarding unpaid minutes. We generated exposures for the multiple class groups applying the various statutes of limitations, opt in/out restrictions, and relevant penalties and interest for each. Our analyses were the basis of a settlement agreement with the DOL and used in mediation with plaintiffs.

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel representing a national telecommunications company in a California class action where claims of off-the-clock work and failure to pay overtime were made. Our economists effectively combined information on computer log sign-in and telephone use with employees' schedules and punch times. From these sources our economists were able to determine how often violations occurred and estimate more precise damage calculations.

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for an energy provider to organize timecard and payroll data for union employees who were paid a blended rate for all hours worked. Employees worked four 12-hour shifts one week and three 12-hour shifts the next, and they were not paid the overtime premium for the weeks with more than 40 hours worked. The US Department of Labor claimed that these employees were owed overtime pay.  We computed damages given DOL regulations and existing pay practices and prepared settlement lists and databases for production. The DOL has accepted our calculations as correct.  

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a security services provider that was accused of incorrectly computing overtime in two California class action lawsuits. Using timecard and payroll data, our expert derived correct measures of the overtime pay rate as well as the number of overtime hours worked.  His computations of damages and penalties were used in mediation to reach a settlement.

Misclassification - Exempt / Non Exempt & Contractor / Employee

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a nationwide grocery store chain facing a FLSA misclassification lawsuit in California. After examining whether Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers consistently worked a standard amount of time on nonexempt tasks, we provided detailed data listings to assist counsel in deposing plaintiffs and we showed wide variation in the amount of time management employees worked at cash registers. The analysis was used to help defeat class certification.  

In a California class action, Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a nationwide logistics company to compute damages stemming from a claim that contractors were actually employees and, as such, should have been reimbursed for their expenses. We organized personnel, vehicle, and revenue data to assess the potential value of the claim.  

Welch Consulting was retained by attorneys representing a national pharmaceutical company in several class actions brought under the FLSA as well as under California and New York state laws alleging misclassification of outside sales representatives. Our experts assisted in processing and combining disparate sources of data for analysis and in developing a representative sampling approach for purposes of obtaining an reliable sample of declarations on hours worked and duties performed.

Welch Consulting was retained by attorneys representing a national insurance company in a California class action where claims of misclassification, failure to pay overtime, and violations of California’s meal break codes were made on behalf of claims representatives. Our economists used the time card records of employees after their jobs were reclassified to non-exempt in order to generate reliable estimates of hours worked during the period when the employees were classified as exempt.

Time Shaving and Record Keeping Violations

Welch Consulting was retained by a national restaurant chain to investigate claims of malicious editing of time records to avoid payment of overtime. We created an algorithm to match the manager edits to the final time punches from the payroll system and determine each manager’s editing sequence for a given shift. We found that managerial edits were rare among class members and that there was statistically significant variation in the instance of managerial edits. Our findings were used to defeat class certification.

Welch Consulting was retained by a large grocery chain in the Northeast where allegations included time shaving of overtime hours worked.  Since there was no analyzable data on time card edits, our expert analyzed payroll records to assess how often, and in what amounts, overtime payments were made. The data showed overtime payments occurred with regularity and in amounts which varied significantly between stores and departments.  

Welch Consulting was retained in a New York class action where allegations included time shaving and illegal meal payment deductions for restaurant line cooks. Our team generated analysis data from hard-copy work time records and assessed potential unpaid time and the value of meal deductions. Our analyses were used to settle case.

Benefit Payments

Welch Consulting was retained by a national general merchandise retailer confronting class action allegations that not all accrued paid-time-off (PTO) was paid out at termination. Our expert showed why the opposing expert’s calculations were wrong and demonstrated why the analysis proposed by the other side would not be informative at the class certification stage. Class certification was denied. 

Welch Consulting was retained by a major airline to analyze vacation accrual as part of a union-employer dispute. Our experts calculated damages arising from differences between a negotiated contract and the requirements of federal law regarding the treatment of military leaves of absence in calculating vacation accrual.

Welch Consulting was retained by plaintiffs’ counsel to verify and allegations of incorrect benefits payments stemming from a manufacturer of printers and related supplies with a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy. Our economist estimated the value of the forfeited vacation time and provided expert testimony at trial.

Alternative Work Arrangements

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a major airline transportation company to examine the incidence rate of “switched shifts” among employees that plaintiffs claimed led to unlawful overtime payment practices and violations of minimum wage law. Using timecard and payroll data, our experts examined the incidence rate of potential violations. 

Welch Consulting was retained by counsel for a national insurance firm to investigate overtime payments made to employees with Alternative Work Arrangements. The company’s systems were not properly tracking such arrangements, resulting in payment of overtime when it was not due and failure to pay instances when it should be paid. We used the time records to identify employees with alternative schedules and valued the mispayment of overtime.

Other Representative Wage & Hour Engagements

Welch Consulting was retained by an energy company operating in several states to assess back pay exposure under the FLSA due to the company’s practice of paying hours on shifts that cross two work weeks in only one week. This occurred because all hours associated with a shift were “frontloaded” and paid in the prior week, rather than in the week they actually occurred. Our expert analyzed the available time clock, schedule and payroll data sources to calculate additional overtime premium payments owed due to “frontloading” after taking account of proper offsets.

Welch Consulting was retained to calculate damages for a nationwide restaurant chain whose tip-pooling practice was alleged to violate minimum wage laws. The analysis focused on the proper allocation of monies paid out to first line supervisorial employees who, it was argued, were only entitled to share in the tips if they were not engaged in supervisorial duties. Our calculations were used in mediation to reach a settlement.  

Welch Consulting was engaged to assess compliance with Service Contract Act for industry-leading national delivery company. Our expert analyzed wage and benefits compliance with SCA regulations for thousands of employees in multiple business segments performing different kinds of work nationwide. We calculated estimates of potential exposure under several alternative measures of government contract work and developed models for increased compliance.