With increased funding and additional investigator hires, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has indicated that it will be using its additional resources towards legal immigration status enforcement. Assuming recent responsibilities over the enforcement of the H-2B visa program, the WHD is expected to begin a pilot enforcement initiative at the beginning of fiscal year 2011 (beginning October 1, 2010) aimed at the hospitality industry. This pilot initiative will include audits of the employer facility as well as all employees (not just foreign workers) employed at the facility, and will investigate employer compliance with all laws administered by the WHD. Additional regulations governing the H-2B visa program are expected in November 2010.
In addition, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced a new campaign aimed at enforcing federal wage and hour laws on behalf of low-wage and immigrant workers. As part of the "We Can Help" campaign by the Department of Labor (DOL), DOL has launched a broad campaign to inform workers of their rights and encourage them, regardless of their immigration status, to report violations of wage and hour laws on the job. DOL’s campaign is twofold: (1) it intends to raise awareness of workers’ rights among "vulnerable" classes of workers; and (2) it adds 250 field investigators who will target employers in communities that have a history of labor problems. The campaign will focus on violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related federal rules governing minimum wages, overtime payments and hours worked.© 2013 Vedder Price