WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

DOL should claim an equal seat at the table with LEA partners

DOL Wage and Hour should claim an equal seat at the table with LEA partners on human trafficking, especially in preventing and combating labor trafficking, given its expertise in engaging workers in complex systems. Additionally, civil remedies often better ensure compensation for victims and have a wider range of penalties that can be imposed to prevent businesses and others from engaging in trafficking in the future.... more »

Voting

17 votes
17 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

WHD Should Enhance Training Efforts to Better Combat Trafficking

(1) WHD should ensure all newly hired and current wage and hour inspectors receive comprehensive training on human trafficking as they are the critical front line staff who may be coming into contact with victims. Training should be on both labor and sex trafficking, with a focus on forced criminality, and the overlap between sex and labor trafficking. Wage and Hour Inspectors are well positioned to identify all forms... more »

Voting

15 votes
15 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Don't Deport Abused Workers

DOL and DHS must recommit to protecting immigrant workers, in all immigration statuses, during investigations by the DOL. No workers should be held in immigration detention or removed from the US until after the full investigation is complete, prosecution or civil action is complete, and workers have had ample opportunity to confer with immigration counsel. DOL should proactively provide all workers who are victims and... more »

Voting

9 votes
9 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Overcoming Barriers to Investigators Interviewing Guestworkers

ISSUE ONE: Legal Action of Wisconsin's trafficked farmworker clients, particularly H-2A visa clients, repeatedly have wage and hour violations. However, when DOL W&H investigators arrive to interview these agricultural workers, our clients tell us that they feel compelled by their bad actor employer or crew leader to not answer investigator questions honestly (ie. Pressured to tell DOL investigators they've received their... more »

Voting

8 votes
8 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Strengthen the regulation of foreign labor recruiters

Foreign labor contractors are increasingly relied upon to facilitate the movement of labor from one country to another and strong statutory fixes as discussed above are necessary. However, there is a lot that can be done through agency intervention in this critical issue as it is well documented that foreign labor contractors are often complicit with or directly involved in the trafficking of workers. Most problematic... more »

Voting

8 votes
8 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Increase the number of inspectors to better identify cases

DOL Wage and Hour Division (DOL/WHD) and DOL Office of the Inspector General (DOL/OIG) inspectors are in a unique position to identify cases of forced labor in workplaces. ATEST supports the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking's recommendation that DOL increase the number of DOL/WHD and DOL/OIG inspectors across the country to better identify and refer possible trafficking cases. To meet this recommendation, DOL... more »

Voting

8 votes
8 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Prioritize complaints that allege retaliation

Many workers fear raising worksite complaints about worker safety because their work authorization is attached to their job. WHD should prioritize complaints that allege retaliation in order to protect workers who come forward about labor trafficking and exploitation. WHD should also issue guidance and update the Field Operations Handbook and training to ensure that WHD investigators apply a broad interpretation of retaliation... more »

Voting

7 votes
7 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Prove investigators that speak the language

In Northern New England, all State enforcement agencies are faced with not having an investigator easily available that speaks the native language or understands the customs of the minority groups to perform a thorough investigation within predominantly ethnic businesses. The agencies must rely upon interpreters over the phone to attempt to conduct the interview. The use of phone interpreters usually results in frustration... more »

Voting

6 votes
6 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Improve Investigations by Involving Partners

The Advocates for Human Rights strongly encourages DOL to ensure any protocols guarantee the involvement of social service providers and advocates early and throughout the investigation. The individuals help aid the investigation by providing needed services to make victims safe and comfortable. They also have training and skills in trauma-informed interviewing techniques and understand nuances facing special populations.... more »

Voting

6 votes
6 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Attorneys Present at WHD Interviews

Justice at Work recommends that DOL strengthen its commitment to supporting survivors of labor trafficking by allowing their legal representatives to be present during Wage and Hour Division interviews. Often, a trafficking survivor spends significant time with their attorney building trust as they consider their legal options—including whether to report to a law enforcement agency. The process of building trust and rapport... more »

Voting

6 votes
6 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Strict Enforcement

First of all, Thank You for bringing this issue to the forefront.

I have been in the union construction trades for over 32 years. I have been on staff for over 16 years. A lot of my days are spent talking to workers in the construction industry who are either, not paid right, misclassified or threatened if they speak to anyone of authority.

To date we have filed numerous wage theft violations over the years against... more »

Voting

5 votes
5 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Ensure appropriate training for federal investigators

WHD should require that all federal investigators undergo training on issues specific to temporary work visas to combat labor trafficking in these systems, including deferred action requests, U visa certifications, T visas, visa sponsorship remedy, fraud in foreign labor contracting and recruitment abuse. DOL should work with state workforce agencies to train state investigators in every state on these same issues. DOL... more »

Voting

5 votes
5 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Address international labor recruitment

WHD should increase its focus on addressing international labor recruitment, a practice that often leaves temporary visa workers in a situation of debt bondage when they enter the U.S. and increases their vulnerability to labor trafficking. DOL should create an Office of International Labor Recruitment Certification housed within WHD. The Office should generate a structure to monitor international labor recruitment practices... more »

Voting

5 votes
5 up votes
0 down votes

WHD Ensuring Proper Wages in the Workplace

Vigorously enforce labor laws and hold employers accountable

WHD should vigorously enforce labor laws to remedy abuses that make workers more vulnerable to labor trafficking. This includes aggressively enforcing workplace rights of internationally recruited workers both while they are in the United States and after they have returned to their countries of origin; increasing enforcement in labor certifications by debarring noncompliant companies; and creating an expedited investigation... more »

Voting

5 votes
5 up votes
0 down votes