Labor & Employment

Feds to Ramp Up Enforcement of 'Rampant' Wage-and-Hour Violations

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After the release last week of a 72-page report documenting what the National Law Journal sums up as alleged “rampant” violations of wage-and-hour laws by employers, the U.S. Department of Labor is already gearing up for more stringent enforcement.

It is hiring 250 additional investigators to pursue claimed widespread practices by numerous employers of not paying the required minimum wage, not paying required overtime and not allowing workers to take required breaks.

The report (PDF), Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities, is based on interviews with some 4,000 low-wage workers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

It was published by the National Employment Law Project, the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“The violations were not limited to just a few rogue employers or to one or two sectors. We found them in virtually every major industry in urban economies,” says co-author Annette Bernhardt. She is policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for workers’ rights.

Lawyers who represent employers in labor matters, however, say their clients do follow the law and question whether violations are as common as the report contends, the legal publication reports.

The federal minimum wage increased to $7.25 in July, the Department of Labor notes on its website.

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