Taking the stage in Chicago at what was once Jane Addams’ Hull House, where FDR Labor Secretary Frances Perkins got started, Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis launched a nationwide public awareness program called "We Can Help" on April 1.
"I have a message for those employers who break this nation’s labor laws and prey on vulnerable workers: It ends today," she said in her self-announced role as "the new sheriff in town."
The new "We Can Help" campaign is essentially a public-relations effort to remind workers—particularly those in construction, hotels/motels, the food service industry and home healthcare—that the Labor Department exists to protect workers, not employers.
"This sheriff believes that workplace enforcement is not only our responsibility, but it is our moral obligation," Solis said, noting that she has increased enforcement staff in all of the Labor Department’s agencies, including 250 new field investigators for the Wage and Hour Division. "If someone is stealing your wages, you can and should call the Department of Labor," she said.
Employers, a good guide for staying in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is to get a copy of Personnel Concepts’ FLSA Overtime Rules Compliance Kit. The kit will help you properly classify–and then pay–your workforce, while keeping the new sheriff and her posse from your doorstep.