“Millions are not getting paid” warns Chicago’s Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice.
Business-bred media has failed to mention the Bush Administration dropped investigations of wage theft and employer crime.
Complaints over minimum wage, overtime and child labor were ignored or sent away.
Administration and staff were directed to only record successful cases to make Wage and Hour statistics appear better than they were.
Child labor violations were delayed by months or years.
An undercover investigator called the agency to complain about that 14-year old children working with saws and meat grinders at a meat processing plant during the school day.
The call was never investigated or logged into the complaint database, but the agency said they had contacted the employer and resolved the case, even though the company was fictitious.
Thousands of employees were ignored, turned away, switched to answering machines and told lies. A Wage and Hour employee told the GAO investigator that they could not follow up on the complaint because the IRS said that his employer was not big enough. Listen to this call on YouTube.
Posing as fictitious complainants, GAO filed 10 common complaints with WHD district offices across the country. These tests found that WHD staff deterred fictitious callers from filing a complaint by encouraging employees to resolve the issue themselves, directing most calls to voicemail, not returning phone calls to both employees and employers, and providing conflicting or misleading information about how to file a complaint.
An employer’s verbal offer to pay irreversibly closed the case whether the employee was paid or never paid.
Fines that punish repeat or egregious employers declined by nearly 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.