Although given all the FLSA collective actions that have been directed at employers, it would be somewhat foolish to argue that the last few years have been easy, it is clear that a new administration, means likely much tougher enforcement by the DOL.
And although Secretary Solis probably did not need anything to jump start that activity, in case she did, the GAO report on enforcement efforts in the recent past no doubt will serve that purpose. The report to Congress, neutrally entitled, is Wage and Hour Division’s Complaint Intake and Investigative Processes Leave Low Wage Workers Vulnerable to Wage Theft.
GAO’s overall assessment of the WHD complaint intake, conciliation, and investigation processes found an ineffective system that discourages wage theft complaints. With respect to conciliations, GAO found that WHD does not fully investigate these types of complaints or compel employers to pay. In addition, a WHD policy instructed many offices not to record unsuccessful conciliations in its database, making WHD appear better at resolving conciliations than it actually is. WHD’s investigations were frequently delayed by months or years, but once complaints were recorded in WHD’s database and assigned as a case to an investigator, they were often adequately investigated.
Secretary of Labor Solis’ response can be found here. One key point, 250 new wage and hour investigators are on the way.