On April 1, 2010, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a new nationwide “We Can Help” campaign designed to help educate the country’s “low-wage” and “vulnerable workers” about the services and assistance available to them from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division. Noting that “this department (“DOL”) will not allow anyone to be denied their rightful pay,” the DOL has prepared several Spanish/English bilingual public service announcements and has provided a toll-free hotline for employee use. Although the DOL is concerned about all industries, the new campaign will focus on reaching out to employees in the construction, janitorial, hotel/motel services, food services and home health care industries and will address topics such as workplace rights and how to properly file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division to recover wages and overtime pay.
In addition to the public service announcements, the DOL recently reported that representatives of the Wage and Hour Division conducted outreach events in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle, where investigators visited day labor centers and Mexican Consulate offices, met with advocacy groups and held information sessions to help reinforce the DOL’s commitment to ensuring that all employees are properly paid.
Based on the DOL’s new “We Can Help” campaign and the hiring of an additional 250 investigators, all employers should clearly understand the DOL’s pro-active focus and its steadfast commitment to employee wage and hour concerns. To prevent any wage and hour fines and penalties, we recommend that all employers consider conducting a wage and hour audit to (1) ensure that all employees are being properly classified (“exempt” or “non-exempt”) and are being properly paid and (2) ensure that the proper payroll records are being retained for the correct number of years. Please consult with your relationship attorney for additional information or questions.