US Department of Labor offers new resources to help combat employer retaliation against workers who exercise their legal rights
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division today published and launched several resources to help combat retaliation by employers against employees for exercising their worker rights. These resources include the following:
- Field Assistance Bulletin “Protecting Workers from Retaliation.”
- Presentation: “Unlawful Retaliation Under the Laws Enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.”
- Wage and Hour Division Anti-Retaliation website
“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to preventing and addressing retaliation against workers and will use every tool available to safeguard worker protections,” said Wage and Hour Division Acting Administrator Jessica Looman. “These protections uphold the rights of workers to identify violations of the law without fear of termination or other threats to their reputation, safety or livelihood. The laws we enforce only protect workers when workers can access their protections.”
Retaliation against a worker is a violation of labor protections laws and includes an adverse action that could discourage an employee from raising a concern about a possible labor violation or engaging in other protected activity such as filing a complaint with the division, or cooperating with an investigation, inquiring about possible violations in their employer’s pay practices or asserting their worker rights. For the most vulnerable workers, retaliation – or the fear of it – often prevents them from exercising their workplace rights.
The division investigates allegations of retaliation. Retaliation can take many forms including: reduction of work hours or pay; denial of vacation or sick time; bullying; constructive discharge; threat of job loss, demotion, the threat of deportation, or violence.
Employers can also help prevent retaliation from occurring in the workplace by identifying and addressing behaviors that may result in retaliation against workers and by providing training and demonstrating a commitment not to retaliate against workers who exercise their rights.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. For more information about the laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Calls are answered confidentially, in more than 200 languages, regardless of immigration status.