The Department of Labor (DOL) and the American Bar Association (ABA) are launching a new partnership to improve workers' access to legal assistance to address wage and hour complaints. The partnership will be the first-of-its kind between a federal agency and the private bar.
The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) resolves more than 20,000 employment-related complaints every year, such as not getting paid the minimum wage or overtime, or being wrongfully denied family medical leave. However, because of limited resources, there are thousands of complaints that cannot be addressed. The DOL and the ABA are establishing an attorney-referral system to improve those workers' access to legal assistance.
Beginning on December 13, 2010, workers will be provided with a toll-free number when their FLSA or FMLA cases cannot be pursued. If complainants choose to call the toll-free number, they will be advised of the ABA-approved LRIS providers in their area. The complainant may then contact the provider and determine whether to retain a qualified private-sector lawyer.
The project is part of the administration's Middle Class Task Force initiative, led by Vice President Joe Biden.