Yesterday the United States Department of Labor (DOL) gave another indication that it is preparing to ramp up enforcement efforts, in the form of its We Can Help campaign. We Can Help is designed to educate workers about their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The campaign includes, among other features, a separate website with links to pages explaining the rights of workers and Public Service Announcements in both English and Spanish by Hollywood stars, including Jimmy Smits and Esai Morales. Hilda Solis (Secretary of Labor) and Dolores Huerta (co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO) also recorded PSAs in support of the campaign.
We Can Help appears to be targeted toward specific industries, i.e., construction, day laborers and farm workers, and clearly reaches out to non-citizens and/or undocumented workers. The campaign’s encouragement of self-action in employee recordkeeping, coupled with the impending media blitz, will likely increase complaints filed with the DOL. To that end, the DOL recently added some 250 additional investigators (a staff increase of approximately 33%), in large part to support this campaign.