DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is charged with enforcing labor laws related to wages, overtime, youth employment, family leave and more. A new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found them to be almost non-responsive to complaints.
To test the the division, the GAO went undercover, pretending to be workers who've been cheated out of wages or witnesses to violations of wage and hour laws. They filed ten fictitious complaints to see how the system worked. To quote from the report:
GAO reviewed WHD a database and found 20 real cases from 2007 affecting 1,160 workers where complaints were inadequately investigated.
This report follows testimony in June 2008, when the GAO reported on 15 cases where WHD did not adequately investigate complaints or require employers to pay.
A result of underfunding, mismanagement or policy directives? Solis's statement reports that 150 new field investigators are being hired, and an additional 100 to monitor contractors using ARRA funds. Perhaps this signals a change in priority at DOL.