DOL Launches to help workers find quick solutions to their workplace problems

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has launched a new website, to help workers find quick solutions to their workplace problems. At the same time,  DOL announced  it is inviting users to give feedback on the site to facilitate improvements.
The DOL created the online tool in response to feedback it received during President Obama’s White House Summit on Worker Voice that “workers need access to information about their rights that responds directly to their challenges.” According to the DOL, “[e]ven the best government websites can be difficult to navigate, especially for workers with little knowledge of laws and government agencies.” The DOL also acknowledges that workers may be looking for information without knowing which law is at issue: “ recognizes the simple truth that people do not think about having an ‘FLSA’ or ‘FMLA’ or ‘Title VII’ problem. They just know that they have an unfairness-on-the-job problem.”The DOL states that new website will “remove the guesswork, and provide workers access to critical information about their rights . . . in a way that makes sense for them.” Rather than asking workers which statute they think their employers may have violated or which government agency can help, will ask users to “answer a few simple questions about their lives and jobs” and then will “guide them to the information they need” without workers needing “to know the name of a single statute or government agency.”

The site currently features a drop-down menu allowing users to choose their job titles, such as, “day laborer,” “office worker,” “restaurant worker,” and a few others. Once a choice is made, users are taken to a page with several options:

  • Tell us what happened. We can help.
  • You have the right to be treated equally.
  • You have the right to engage with others to improve wages and working conditions.
  • You have the right to a safe and healthy work environment.
  • You have the right to be paid.

Each of these topics has information grouped below it about various scenarios the worker may be facing, such as:

  • I’m not being paid $7.25 or more for my work.
  • I am being prevented from engaging with others to improve my working conditions.
  • I was discriminated against based on my age.

When a user clicks on any of these scenarios, he or she is taken to a brief description of his or her rights, with links to take further action, such as filing a claim (e.g., for lost wages), filing a charge (e.g., for discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), or filing a complaint (e.g., for a workplace safety violation with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

The DOL is inviting users to try out the website and provide feedback. According to the DOL blog, “the most important innovation is that we’ll constantly be collecting feedback and improving the site.” The DOL expects to expand the site’s offerings in the coming months “to target more and more occupations” and “to narrow in on the precise information that workers need most.”

Hera S. Arsen, Ph.D.  (Torrance)

Hera S. Arsen, Ph.D.

Hera S. Arsen, J.D., Ph.D., is Managing Editor of the firm’s publications, overseeing the firm’s print and online legal publications and content. Hera, who joined Ogletree Deakins in 2003, is directly responsible for writing and editing the firm’s national legal content, including coverage of federal agencies and the Supreme Court of the United States. She also oversees the Ogletree Deakins blog, which covers the latest legal news from over 20 practice-areas and jurisdictions.



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