Community Policing Comes to Town for Pay Violations
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Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has endorsed the enlisting of outside groups to be whistle blowers on companies that don't pay employees what they are owed or who don't provide a safe work environment.
Despite a four percent boost for worker protection in the Labor Department budget for fiscal 2011, and despite a $20 million increase to $244 million in the Wage and Hour Division, plus the hiring of 90 new investigators and 25 new inspectors, Solis said that is still not enough as there is not enough on-staff investigators to cover every single item that comes up.
In the meantime, the advocacy network Interfaith Worker Justice launched a national drive to curb wage theft. The idea of using community organizations to monitor companies is fairly new, even though unions have been whistle blowing on pay violations for years.
Lawyers for workers are eager to launch wage and hour suits because they are so much easier to pursue than other discrimination categories, and plus lawyers can now get more help from average citizens.
All in all, it is important to have a sound internal system in place for responding to employee complaints so that we have fewer claims coming in.
Do share your thoughts. Do you like the idea of the community blowing the whistle on companies who don't pay staff what they are owed?