When the dust settles from the current round of discussions on increasing the federal minimum wage, the lowest paid of the country’s non-exempt employees may or may not be earning an additional dollar or two per hour. Either way, the debate will have drawn the country’s — and the plaintiffs bar’s — attention toward the lowest paid of our country’s workers, and the climate will be right for those attorneys to begin focusing not only on how much non-exempt employees are being paid per hour, but also on whether these workers are being paid in a manner that is consistent with every intricate (and often contrary-to-common-sense) twist and turn of federal and state law.

There is an abundance of wage and hour claims waiting to be made against unsuspecting employers with regard to payment of non-exempt employees. Employers who take the time to evaluate their practices now will be well-positioned when the focus of non-exempt collective action litigation shifts from “off-the-clock” claims to the next big thing.