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

by | Jul 19, 2023 | Blog

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Top 10 Violations Investigated By The Kentucky Labor CabinetWe found ourselves intrigued by the common violation complaints investigated by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, with the goal of better guiding our readers on how to steer clear of such complications and the accompanying fines.

Thus, we decided to go directly to the source!

Our team at Integrity HR engaged in a productive dialogue with program managers from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet to get definitive answers to your pressing Kentucky Labor Cabinet inquiries. Their assistance was invaluable and we gleaned so much information that we’ve decided to break down our discussion into two separate blog posts.

In this post, we’ll address 5 Violations identified by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and how you can avoid them.

So, let’s delve right into the heart of the matter to assist you in avoiding potential investigations and fines. We inquired, “What precisely are the common violations the Cabinet frequently investigates and how can we evade them?”

Could you be unknowingly committing these infractions? We certainly hope not.

We will elaborate on the violation and provide a proper way to address the most perplexing and challenging issues. Some statutes can be perplexing even for the most knowledgeable HR professional or business owner, but we’re armed with insider tips to help clear any queries you might have.

Let’s dive in.

(Disclaimer: Laws vary by state. The advice in this blog is specifically for employers and employees based 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: Misclassification of employees as exempt by the employer.

The Correct Approach: The crux of the matter lies in this: The distinction between an exempt and non-exempt employee lies in their job function and their compensation method. An exempt employee is compensated to complete their job irrespective of how many hours it takes. They are not mandated to take breaks. Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their standard hourly rate, for time worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. They also have the right to take meal and rest breaks.

Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, not quite. To comprehend the three tests you can implement to correctly classify employees, refer to this blog.

2. Travel Time

The Violation: The employer neglects to compensate for hours spent traveling as work hours.

The Correct Approach: Let’s simplify this. As per the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, time invested in traveling during regular work hours is deemed as compensable work time. Time spent in commuting from home to work in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, is not usually classified as “hours worked” and thus does not necessitate payment.

This stipulation applies only if the commute is within the regular commuting area for the employer’s business and the use of the vehicle is pursuant to an agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee’s representative.

3. Illegal Deductions

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

The Correct Approach: This isn’t the right moment for petty actions. An employer cannot deduct for property damage from the final pay unless the employer can demonstrate willful or intentional negligence. The employer also needs written authorization from the employee acknowledging their understanding that such deductions may be made.

4. Background Checks

The Violation: The employer mandates an employee to cover the cost of a background check.

The Correct Approach: This is a definite “no-go.” An employer cannot require an employee to bear the cost of a medical exam OR the cost of providing any records (KRS 336.220). The Kentucky Labor Cabinet interprets this to include background checks.

5. Training Prior To Hire

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

The Correct Approach: Hold on a moment. The statute 803 KAR 1:005 states that if the individual fulfills all “employee relation” criteria, then the prospective employee must be compensated for time spent completing new hire paperwork before hiring.

The general rule is that if the paperwork and/or training are compulsory, the employee should be compensated for its completion. Employers can mandate that the paperwork and training are performed on the employer’s premises for control purposes.

Did You Know?

According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the sectors with the highest number of complaints are construction, retail, and long-haul trucking. Retail complaints typically arise due to the high turnover rate in management.

That’s all for today, but fret not. We still have five more insider tips to share with you! In our next post, we’ll address the top violations related to overtime, break time, unpaid wages, and much more!

You can find Part 2 here.

Download Our FREE Resources

A list of our useful HR resources