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Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division Needs Improved Investigative Processes and Ability to Suspend Statute of Limitations to Better Protect Workers Against Wage Theft: Report to the Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives.

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The mission of the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) includes enforcing provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is designed to ensure that millions of workers are paid the federal minimum wage and overtime. Conducting investigations based on worker complaints is WHD's priority. On March 25, 2009, GAO testified on its findings related to (1 The mission of the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) includes enforcing provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is designed to ensure that millions of workers are paid the federal minimum wage and overtime. Conducting investigations based on worker complaints is WHD's priority. On March 25, 2009, GAO testified on its findings related to (1) undercover tests of WHD's complaint intake process, (2) case study examples of inadequate WHD responses to wage complaints, and (3) the effectiveness of WHD's complaint intake process, conciliations (phone calls to the employer), and other investigative tools. To test WHD's complaint intake process, GAO posed as complainants and employers in 10 different scenarios. To provide case study examples and assess effectiveness of complaint investigations, GAO used data mining and statistical sampling of closed case data for fiscal year 2007. This report summarizes the testimony (GAO-09-458T) and provides recommendations. Congress should consider authorizing suspension of the statute of limitations while an investigation by WHD is ongoing.


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The mission of the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) includes enforcing provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is designed to ensure that millions of workers are paid the federal minimum wage and overtime. Conducting investigations based on worker complaints is WHD's priority. On March 25, 2009, GAO testified on its findings related to (1 The mission of the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) includes enforcing provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is designed to ensure that millions of workers are paid the federal minimum wage and overtime. Conducting investigations based on worker complaints is WHD's priority. On March 25, 2009, GAO testified on its findings related to (1) undercover tests of WHD's complaint intake process, (2) case study examples of inadequate WHD responses to wage complaints, and (3) the effectiveness of WHD's complaint intake process, conciliations (phone calls to the employer), and other investigative tools. To test WHD's complaint intake process, GAO posed as complainants and employers in 10 different scenarios. To provide case study examples and assess effectiveness of complaint investigations, GAO used data mining and statistical sampling of closed case data for fiscal year 2007. This report summarizes the testimony (GAO-09-458T) and provides recommendations. Congress should consider authorizing suspension of the statute of limitations while an investigation by WHD is ongoing.

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