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Labor Department getting creative to nab violating employers

California employers who don't pay their workers what's required under federal labor law risk embarrassment. This is due to a Department of Labor contest challenging the public to develop an innovative data-sharing tool. The smartphone app would identify employers who are believed to be violating wage laws like those for overtime, minimum wage, employment of minors and working with contractors.

The contest to develop the new app was just the latest interactive foray from the Labor Department. In 2011, they released an app that allowed workers to track their own work hours and then determine what wages they were owed. And this was more than just a fancy pocket calculator, since the information could then be used in Wage and Hour Division investigations if an employer failed to keep accurate records of the same information. Whatever app won the contest would be able to combine public information like Wage and Hour Division and Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement data with popular consumer ratings sites like Yelp and mapping tools from sources like Google Maps.

According to the contest application, the Labor Department would like submitted apps to allow users to incorporate other publicly available data sets, such as environmental data and information, from state health boards and state licensing agencies. Critics of the app concept said that there was currently no announced verification process for data uploaded to the app and no way to challenge or remove inaccurate or misleading information.

An attorney experienced in litigating employment law issues like unpaid overtime, denied breaks, violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and more may be able to help slighted workers get the compensation they are entitled to under labor law. Such a lawyer may be able to help arrange settlements for injured parties.

Source: New Jersey, "Targeting Bad Employers: There May Be an App for That", Donald Scarinci , August 08, 2013

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