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If you haven’t already heard of “wage-and-hour” lawsuits, chances are you soon will. They have surpassed employee discrimination suits, both in terms of number of filings and size of settlements, according to a recent Advisen study. A January report in Human Resource Executive Online shows wage-and-hour settlements increased 44 percent in 2009, compared with 2008. Class action lawsuits against large employers like Wal-Mart tend to attract the most attention, but small and midsized companies have seen the most significant increase in claims, according to Monitor Liability Managers, LLC. In fact, the Department of Labor estimates that 80 percent of employers are not in compliance with applicable wage-and-hour laws, as Advisen reports. While wage-and-hour claims may not directly involve E&O issues, they certainly pose risk management concerns, of which every employer needs to be aware.

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