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Top 10 Violations Investigated By The Kentucky Labor Cabinet (And How To Avoid Them!) Part 1

Jan 10, 2013 | Blog

Top 10 Violations Investigated By The Kentucky Labor CabinetWe were curious about the top violation complaints the Kentucky Labor Cabinet investigates to better advise our readers on how to avoid those sticky situations (and fines).

So we went straight to the source!

The team from Integrity HR sat down with program managers from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet to get the answers to all of  your Kentucky Labor Cabinet questions. They were incredibly helpful and we have so much information we are going to split this discussion up into two blogs.

Today, we’re going to tackle Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Top 5 Violations and how to avoid them.

So let’s get straight to the nitty gritty to help you avoid investigations and fines. We asked, “What exactly are the top violations the Cabinet routinely investigates and how can we avoid them?”

Could you be committing these violations and not know it? We hope not.

We’ll explain the violation and the right way to tackle the most confusing and frustrating issues. Some statutes can stump even the smartest HR professional and business owner, but we have the insider secrets to help you clarify any questions you may have.

Let’s get started.

(Disclaimer: Laws are different in every state. The advice in this blog is just for employers and employees in the state of Kentucky.)

Top 10 Violations Investigated By The Kentucky Labor Cabinet
(And How To Avoid Them!) Part 1

1. Exemptions

The Violation: The employer misclassifies employees as exempt.

The Right Way: Here’s what it all comes down to: The difference between an exempt and non-exempt employee is the nature of their job function and how they are compensated. An exempt employee is paid to get the job done regardless of how many hours they work. They are not required to take breaks. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their hourly rate, for time worked over 40 hours in a workweek. They are also entitled to take meal and rest breaks.

Seems simple, right? Not so much.  To learn the three tests you can conduct to classify employee the right way, read this blog.

2. Travel Time


The Violation: The employer fails to pay hours spent in travel as hours worked.

The Right Way: Let’s break it down. According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time. Time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally is not “hours worked” and, therefore, does not have to be paid.

This provision applies only if the travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer’s business and the use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee’s representative.

3. Illegal Deductions

The Violation: The employer deducts from final pay for damage to property.

The Right Way: This is not the time and place to be catty. An employer cannot deduct from the final pay any damage to property unless the employer can prove willful or intentional disregard. The employer must also have a written authorization from the employee stating that they understand that such deductions can be made.

4. Background Checks

The Violation: The employer requires an employee to pay for a background check.

The Right Way: That’s a big “No No!” An employer cannot require an employee to pay the cost of a medical exam OR the cost of furnishing any records (KRS 336.220). This is interpreted by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet to include background checks.

5. Training Prior To Hire


The Violation: The employer does not pay the employee prior to official start date.

The Right Way: Not so fast there, champ. The statute 803 KAR 1:005 indicated that if the individual meets all criteria under “employee relation,” then the prospective employee must be paid for time spent completing new hire paperwork prior to hire.

The rule of thumb is that if the paperwork and/or training are mandatory, the employee should be paid for its completion. Employers can require that the paperwork and training are done on the employer’s premises to control.

Did You Know?

According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the industries with the largest number of complaints are construction, retail and on-the-road trucking. Retail complaints are typically as a result of the large turnover in management.

That’s all we have for today, but don’t worry. We still have five more insider secrets to share with you! Next week, we’ll tackle the top violations having to do with overtime, break time, unpaid wages and much more!

Read Part 2 here.