Almost a year ago, the Tampa Bay Business Journal released an article entitled "Law Firms Troll for Complaints Among Disgruntled Workers." The article discussed the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA and how it creates a "minefield of gotchas" for businesses that are downsizing because of the economy.
Employers need to heed the warning in the last paragraph of the article which states "Very well-intentioned employers get taken to the cleaners sooner or later. It is not enough to be fair and generous. You have to be in compliance with the law." (See link to article here: FLSA).
This observation highlights the difference between wage and hour law and discrimination law. In discrimination law, ultimately the employee has to show that the employer intended to disriminate against him or her. With the FLSA, an employer may be held liable for an innocent mistake.