Thursday, January 13, 2011

DOL’s “Right to Know,” or right to sue?

This April, the Department of Labor intends to publish a proposed rule updating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s recordkeeping regulations. The DOL refers to this program as “Right to Know.” The stated goals for these regulations include strengthening protections for workers by protecting their entitlement to earned wages, bringing greater transparency and openness to the workplace, and increasing wage and hour compliance. According to the DOL, the proposed rule will likely:

  • Require the notification of workers’ status as employees or independent contractors.
  • Require that any employers that seek to exclude workers from the FLSA’s coverage perform a classification analysis, disclose that analysis to the worker, and retain that analysis to give to DOL enforcement personnel on request.
  • Require that employers provide a wage statement, including hours worked and a wage computation, each pay period to each employee.

The subtext of these regulations, however, is frightening. The DOL is pursuing an aggressive agenda of wage and hour compliance for low wage workers. While it has swelled its ranks with the hiring of 250 new investigators, it still lacks the budget and manpower to locate or remedy every wage and hour violation in every business. These “Right to Know” regulations will informally deputize every employee, transforming our nation’s workforce into a nation of DOL investigators. Do you still think you can afford to put off that wage and hour audit?

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or