It may soon be easier for employees to find private legal representation after the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) declines to pursue their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. This is thanks to a new collaboration between the WHD and the American Bar Association (ABA) to establish an attorney referral system. Vice President Joe Biden, along with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, announced this new “Bridge to Justice” program at a Middle Class Task Force event on November 19, 2010.
Starting December 13, 2010, when workers with FLSA or FMLA claims are told that the WHD is not going to pursue their complaints, they may be given a toll-free number to contact the new ABA-Approved Attorney Referral System. If they call this number, they will be referred to ABA-approved attorney referral service providers in their area.
Additionally, if the WHD conducted an investigation into a worker’s complaint, it will now provide the complaining worker with information about its “determination regarding violations at issue and back wages owed.” The WHD also announced that it has developed a special process that will allow complaining workers and their representing attorneys to “quickly obtain certain relevant case information and documents when available.”
For more information on this new program, visit the DOL’s Attorney Referral System Webpage
Learn more about how the Bridge to Justice program and other changes to federal laws, regulations, and enforcement will affect employers at the audio conference 2011 Employer Update: New Laws, Regs, Enforcement Threats & Compliance Tactics