In two recent articles, the Wall Street Journal reports that businesses are fearing a crackdown by the Obama administration on workplace practices. The Department of Labor will hire 150 new investigators to enforce wage and child labor laws and an additional 100 investigators in its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to address unpaid overtime and minimum wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Those of us working to enforce the Wage and Hour laws knew that DOL had not actively enforced these laws during the Bush administration and recent hearings by the Government Accountability Office support this conclusion. Testimony provided in the hearing shows that complaints have not been promptly or adequately investigated by the WHD. Labor Secretary Solis has committed to ending this form of wage theft.
As everyone struggles through this economy, employees are finding that they are being asked to do more for less. Hours are increased and employers are cutting corners to save money. With the Administration and the courts more vigilant of employers who illegally cut corners which affect employees’ earned wages, employees should rest assured that the nation’s laws prohibiting unpaid overtime will be enforced.