U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jun 07, 2023
(a) Section 11 of the Portal Act provides that in any action brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act to recover unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime, compensation, or liquidated damages, the court may, subject to prescribed conditions, in its sound discretion award no liquidated damages or award any amount of such damages not to exceed the amount specified in section 16 (b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
(b) The conditions prescribed as prerequisites to such an exercise of discretion by the court are two: (1) The employers must show to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise to such action was in good faith; and (2) he must show also, to the satisfaction of the court, that he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If these conditions are met by the employer against whom the suit is brought, the court is permitted, but not required, in its sound discretion to reduce or eliminate the liquidated damages which would otherwise be required in any judgment against the employer. This may be done in any action brought under section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of whether the action was instituted prior to or on or after May 14, 1947, and regardless of when the employee activities on which it is based were engaged in. If, however, the employer does not show to the satisfaction of the court that he has met the two conditions mentioned above, the court is given no discretion by the statute, and it continues to be the duty of the court to award liquidated damages.
(c) What constitutes good faith on the part of an employer and whether he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act are mixed questions of fact and law, which should be determined by objective tests.
(d) Section 11 of the Portal Act does not change the provisions of section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act under which attorney's fees and court costs are recoverable when judgment is awarded to the plaintiff.