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Employers and the Law: How We Help

Employers can get expert guidance on many topics at our forums.


Among the broad range of issues employers tackle, managing labor often requires significant resources. Why am I responsible for my workers' safety? How much am I required to pay employees? Must I allow time off for illness? Do I need to provide health insurance? Can I use independent contractors? These are just a few questions that employers may ask when evaluating their labor force. Unfortunately, employers sometimes get incorrect answers to these questions when they seek advice from the wrong sources.

A group of employers attends a forum.
Representatives from many industries
attend our forums.

The department takes a proactive approach in helping employers comply with federal labor laws. One important way is by gathering multiple agencies in a single location to provide employers with free compliance assistance and training in key areas that affect companies of all sizes.

We see representatives from a wide range of industries at these forums – from construction, to hospitality, to manufacturing, to healthcare. These trainings provide a critical piece of our overall outreach efforts, and support our belief that most employers want to do the right thing – they just need to know what that is. At the Wage and Hour Division, we take the education of the employer community seriously. Last year alone, we conducted more than 1,400 outreach seminars, conferences, speeches, symposiums, panel discussions and presentations.

At a recent forum in Oklahoma City, a human resources consulting company representative attended to learn more about the Fair Labor Standards Act. When he had questions about an employer’s ability to claim a tip credit under the FLSA, he was able to sit down with an investigator who walked him through the computation process and explained the details of the provision. The consultant left equipped to make the changes necessary to ensure compliance among his organization’s hundreds of employer clients.

Employer forums offer a one-stop opportunity for employers to interact directly with many of the agencies that support key workplace issues such as wages, recordkeeping, pensions, 401(k) savings plans, safety and health, government contracting, and recruiting and training for former military service members. Representatives from our agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security AdministrationOccupational Safety and Health AdministrationOffice of Federal Contract Compliance ProgramsVeterans’ Employment and Training Service and the Wage and Hour Division, participate in these events to provide employers, company managers, human resources professionals and others with the resources and training they need to comply with federal requirements.

These consultations are quick, confidential and effective. Employers seeking information at one of these forums, or directly from the agency at any other time, need not provide any identifying information, and asking for help in no way triggers any enforcement activity. This confidentiality is critical to making sure we can get information into the hands of those who need it.

In the Southwest, the department has hosted three employer forums recently – Houston in November 2016, San Antonio in January 2017 and Oklahoma City in March 2017. Employers who attend leave with the answers they need, and a greater understanding of the laws that apply to their business. They also have a chance to connect directly with agency representatives an employer can turn to in the future for answers to their questions, making it easier than ever for employers to get the information they need to comply with the law.

Subscribe to the DOL Newsletter and visit the DOL Events Calendar to find training opportunities in your area.

Betty Campbell is the regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.



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In was terminated from a job and was told that I would not be paid my unused vacation time. When I asked where that was stated in the handbook the HE rep remarked that it was an older version than the one I signed. She also stated that since this was not an approved vacation that it did not count. My question is if I was not told specifically that I would not be paid for unused vacation time should I be

Check the DOL Wage and Hour website. Vacation time is considered earned income in accordance with law.

Cathy, You probably have your correct answer by now since your post was on May 2017.
The correct answer is what Elva Torres commented below your name. Unused Vacation must be paid to you by law. Did your HR (human resources) representative show you the newly signed handbook? Does it state anything in the beginning pages of all the updates from older handbook to new handbook? All of these questions are good questions. I hope everything turned out for you.

Is there a Labor Law, Federal and/or State, "Outlawing" Grants/ WAIVERS for senior citizens employed in JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS such as Experience Works and SER - Jobs For Progress National, Inc.(SCSEP),???????

Are employers allowed to make you work without paying a wage? Why do some employers in various southern states insist on hiring workers they do not pay? Does DOL under Wage and Hours division cover this particular situation where employers refuse to pay for worked performed by its employees? How can the employees document that work was performed but no pay was provided? The employer can just withhold the records for that employee when talking with the DOL.

I'm an RN for a home health agency. I'm forced to work overtime and drive very far for work regularly. I am paid OT. My issue is I don't want to work/drive 60+ hrs per week. I can't physically do it and I get taxed so much it's not worth it. I love my job but I can't get them to understand I'm not a superhuman. No union. Wish there was a way to mediate with my employer with a 3rd party because I really just want to work regular people hours

My husband works at Home Depot in Indiana and he found out that the HR person has been hiding hours from corporate so the store manager gets a bonus. Is that illegal?

In reply to by Maryann Prentice (not verified)

Hi Maryann,

Please contact our Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-487-9243. 

In the State of MS an employer (private company not sure if for profit) docks late arriving employees up to and above 1 hr when tardy less than 15 minutes. Is that legal? If not what recourse does the employee have. Second, thhe same employer will deny employees vacation leave if their sick leave used is 20 days during a calendar year. Is this legal? If not what recouse does the employee have. Your responses are appreciated.

In reply to by cheryl celestin (not verified)

Please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

Can an employer just randomly decrease your payrate without notice?

Or can they change your job code without your permission

Please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

I am an adjunct for two colleges that belong to one university system. I have not been paid for one class (for which I taught and delivered all final grades by deadline). No matter who I contact I am told my pay (nearly two months overdue) is "being processed." What are my legal rights and can the DOL help?

Please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

I was told on 6/20/2017 by HR rep that I dont have a definitive job title, when I asked for a job description and exactly who I report to today. I was hired as Senior accountant with position becoming assistant controller in 6 months. That is when the recent assistant controller was given the roll of the controller without any degree in accounting or experience. I assumed I was assistant controller since I have been doing the job for almost 3 years now. I prepare returns, prepare, process, and distribute all financials to the owners and management, and even maintain reports on contracts. I get paid an assistant controller salary. Plus other things when asked. Is it illegal to not have a title?

Please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

Yes i agreed to care for a man who needs 24 hr care and its 5 days straight. He needs my help every few mins. Im sleeping on the couch next to his bed because he constantly needs me. The house is infested with roaches and my pay is 350 total for these 5 days. I dont feel that is fair can you please tell me if im wrong? If the pay is the correct amount? Im in california. Thank you

Sonovia, please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

Hello, my employer has been holding 2 months checks for 6 months now, he's accusing me of violation non compete agreement but I actually never did, is there a law that can help me recover my hard earned wages ?

Please call 1-866-487-9243 or contact your local Wage and Hour Division office for assistance:

I am a hourly worker continuously employed over six years for the President of a 1,000 employees and approved to care for my 90 year old Mom who has a serious condition under the FMLA. I provided notice I am returning to work having been on FMLA leave for 7 weeks. My employer refused to take me back based on a bogus investigation of bullying a 19 year old new hire just several hours after hire as a trainee to learn my job.
I have been training employees when necessary to provide cover for Lunch hour without any negative feedback. Now the billionaire President does not want me to return as revenge. I am in my late 60s. Please advise.

In reply to by Gio (not verified)

Gio, please call our Wage and Hour Division to discuss your situation: 1-866-487-9243 

My husband is 54 years old and has been working as a Residential Air Conditioning Repair Man in Central Texas for the past 39 years. During this time the usual practise for doing "attic work" was as follows: normally, only one attic job per day was allowed. During the hot months (which can last 6 months of the year) attic work is done on the first call of the day ONLY. If a job is expected to take extra long, he would either be at the job site at the crack of dawn, or break the work into 2 days. Specifically for attic work, there was always a cut-off time of either 11am or 12 noon at the latest.
That is what the practise WAS.
One more thing has changed, what used to be a very successful, large, family owned business, has now been sold to a corporation. In the short time span of approximately one year since the new corporation has taken over, it has become very obvious that the health of the workers is no longer as impirtant as the money involved. Pushing the employees to the point of being overworked is now the new norm. Granted, A/C work has, and always will be, difficult. However, there are certain practises which make the job much harder than is healthy. It seems that now the old "attic work rules" have been thrown out the window. For instance; Yesterday, my husband worked 3 attic jobs in a row, and when I spoke to him at 3pm he was still up in an attic! And he was exhausted, I could tell by his voice. But if he were to refuse any job handed to him, he would definitely be fired.
The temperatures up in a Central Texas attic can reach higher than 150°. So, I'm thinking that at least OSHA must have SOME KIND OF RULES about this type of thing?!!

My husband has now decided to quit his job because of this reason alone. He has spoken to his immediate boss about this new attic practise to no avail.
He has been with this company for more than 12 years. And he is a valuable employee for his experience alone. But they don't seem to care.
What I'm now wondering are two-fold:
1.) Are there set OSHA rules as to how long any employee must be exposed to such high temperatures at the work place?
2.) When an employee reaches the older ages, say over 50 years old, shouldn't there be some rules about how an employer should move the valuable employees to a job within the company, at the same rate of pay, without exposing them to the dangerous temperatures of attic work?
Or at least they should not fire that employee for not working in such a high heat environment.
I know my husband would keep that job if he just did not have to go up in to that heat any longer.

Since my husband has 39 years experience in the field, he tried to create a job for himself within the company. He has trained many employees for them already. He wanted the job of being a Trainer, and also to be in charge of the Volatile Recycling for the company. The recycling of all the volatile chemicals, etc. which the company has many to deal with every day. They refused his idea, saying there wouldn't be enough work in each field to cover a full time job.
This is simply not true.
The company is quite large, and the Recycling alone could keep one person very busy all through the year.
Their come back was this:
They offered him the job he suggested, but only if he agreed to take residential calls when the job of training and recycling were not busy. And they made sure to say this would include attic work.
The reality is they would be pulling him away from the Recycling and Training whenever they got busy, which is always during the hot months. Those are the busy times every year.
And so, my husband has refused.
He is simply burnt out, literally.
After 39 years of working in the extreme heat, the attic work is just too much for him now.
And I really cannot blame him.
The new corporate owned company has more new policies which I believe push the employees too hard. But I believe working in the extreme heat of the Texas attics is enough of a bad practise that SOMETHING should be done about it!
Even if my husband can no longer work in his chosen trade, at least others who are still in it can be saved from this barbaric quest for money.

Tell me please, is there ANYTHING that can be done?

JT, you can contact OSHA for more information at 800-321-6742 (OSHA). Here are answers to frequently asked questions regarding air quality:

A tempt agency is stealing my money and stated I was being charged for miscellaneous. Showed me no proof for miscellaneous deductions. What can I do?

received my pay check and it was wrong and now i cant get company to look at it and try to fix it i have called and emailed but no one will talk to be about it