Thursday, November 1, 2018

Has the Labor Department Stepped Up Its Investigations?

Is it just us or has the Labor Department been stepping up its compliance activities regarding labor laws and regulations?

The Labor Department has two offices established to ensure compliance with various laws and regulations related to labor. There is the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) with responsibility for ensuring that contractors comply with laws and regulations requiring nondiscrimination in all of its many forms. There is also the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) who enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, FLSA, Davis-Bacon, and SCA (Service Contracting Act), among many others. Additionally, the Labor Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) also dabbles in compliance matters.

Last week we reported on the case of a contractor in Minnesota who had to pay $400 thousand to female employees for systemic pay discrimination violations. (See Routine Labor Department Audits - What Could Go Wrong?)

A couple of months ago, we reported on a case where as a result of an investigation by WHD, a contractor was found to have misclassified worker skill levels thereby shortchanging them in violation of the Davis-Bacon Act (see Contractor Agrees to Pony Up for Shortchanging its Workers).

Back in June, we reported on another case, brought by a whistleblower, where the OIG found a contractor was underpaying its employees and had submitted false certified payroll reports for work it performed on several construction projects (see Davis-Bacon Act Violations Cost Company $625 Thousand).

Just yesterday, the Labor Department announced another settlement where a contractor was found to have shortchanged its workers by failing to correctly calculate and pay the proper health and welfare fringe benefits to employee accounts. That resulted from a WHD investigation that ultimately cost the contractor $2.8 million (see Labor Department Recovers $2.8 Million for 443 Employees).

But wait, there's more. Two days ago, the OFCCP announced another settlement involving a contractor who agreed to pay $410 thousand in back wages to settle allegations of systemic hiring discrimination. The company was alleged to have discriminated against women for security guard services (see Federal Contractor Agrees to Pay $409,947 in Back Wages to Settle Hiring Discrimination Allegations).

Government contractors should periodically self-assess their level of compliance with the various labor laws that apply. There are many and a good place to learn about them is with Labor Department on-line resources (See Wage and Hour Laws - Compliance "Toolkit").

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