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June 12, 2003
DOL Launches Hispanic Worker Protection Program
U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with the Mexican and Salvadorian Consulates in Dallas and other community and governmental organizations launched the Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program of Dallas.

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The program seeks to educate workers on their rights and responsibilities as well as provide an avenue for non-English speakers to report violations of laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wage and Hour Division and Office of Federal Contract Compliance.

"The administration is committed to protecting the well being of the over 14.5 million Hispanic workers in our country," says U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "We want to help Hispanic workers realize the American dream and be an integral part of the American workforce."

The partnership seeks to educate Hispanics and recent immigrant workers on their rights and responsibilities as well as encourage them to report violations of laws enforced by the Department of Labor and other federal agencies. The partnership also formalizes a shared commitment by the Labor Department and Consulates of Mexico and El Salvador to work together through information sharing and mutual support to promote justice, safety, and equality in the workplace.

A telephone line will be dedicated to receive inquiries from the public and channel those calls to the appropriate federal or state agency. OSHA, Wage and Hour Division and OFCCP will conduct training sessions and provide assistance the Mexican Consulate in Dallas with the tools necessary to refer complaints to appropriate DOL agencies.

The Houston Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program, which was created in July 2001, has already aided the Wage and Hour Division to recover over $1.3 million in back wages for 1,900 workers as the result of investigations initiated by referrals from the partnership, according to the agency. OSHA, with the help of the Justice and Equality in the Workplace Program, will disseminate health and safety information, compliance assistance information and enforcement of health and safety laws.

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