Employees of all kinds in all types of occupations have to face gray areas in wage and hour laws regularly. No one wants to be taken advantage of in their jobs.
Although employers rightly feel angst if they feel their employers are bending the rules, in some cases the problem isn’t malice on the part of the employer; it’s simply a lack of knowledge. When the government provides letters and case decisions to clarify the legal rules, it minimizes these instances of inadvertent abuses by employers.
New Clarifications to Minimize Wage and Hour Problems
Since the George W. Bush administration, the Department of Labor has not been issuing letters to decide on labor dispute cases and clarify the administration’s stance on wage and hour and other legal issues. This is now changing.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a number of letters clarifying some basic employment law rules. The DOL never issued such letters in the Obama administration, preferring to focus more on enforcement than on helping companies comply.
What is the Benefit?
The benefits of a less enforcement-based approach from the DOL are significant for everyone. Employers have less guesswork in order to comply, and employees will be less likely to face wage and hour and other employment law abuses as a result.
However, it is highly unlikely that letters from the DOL will completely eliminate problems and abuses in the workplace. It is still necessary for employees to fight for their rights and make sure they aren’t exploited at their jobs. Although this new approach from the DOL will help, the fight for fair treatment in the workplace is far from over.