Thursday, April 1, 2010

US Department of Labor Launches New Program to Inform Workers About Their Rights in the Workplace

By Robert R. Roginson

Today, the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division officially launched a national public awareness campaign called “We Can Help.” According to the DOL, "this public awareness effort is intended to provide workers with information about their rights in the workplace and to educate them on how to seek the assistance of the Wage and Hour Division when they believe that they have been the subject of a violation." The DOL's new campaign includes a launch of a new web page called "We Can Help." The website includes links informing workers of federal wage and hour requirements, how to file complaints, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The new public awareness program follows other steps taken by the DOL under the Obama Administration to strengthen the enforcement of federal labor standards. Earlier this year, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis released the administration’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget for the DOL requesting $25 million for its Employee Misclassification Initiative, a multi-agency initiative to strengthen and coordinate federal and state efforts to enforce statutory prohibitions, and identify and deter employee misclassification as independent contractors.