Following a GAO report that concluded that the Department of Labor inadequately investigated complaints from low-wage and minimum wage workers who claimed that their employers failed to pay the federal minimum wage, required overtime, and failed to pay employees their last paycheck the DOL has reacted.
This week, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced that the DOL Wage and Hour Division would increase the number of investigators at its field offices by 150 to refocus the department on its enforcement responsibilities. Since Texas has three field offices of the forty-five nationwide, on a prorata basis, Texas could see a net increase of ten investigators.
Additionally, Secretary Solis announced the intent to hire 100 new investigators to enforce the compliance of contractors receiving assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This renewed emphasis on enforcement efforts and an increased number of investigators will undoubtedly result in more frequent and active DOL investigations. Texas employers should ensure that their classifications of employees as exempt are accurate and that their pay practices comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act to avoid being targeted by a more active DOL.