The Wage and Hour Division is a federal office created as a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Wage and Hour Division enforces employer compliance with federal labor standards. Generally, most of the cases the WHD handles involve issues related to wage and hour disputes.

What Types of Claims Does the Wage and Hour Division Handle?

The WHD office handles a wide range of employment and labor cases, including disputes related to:

  • Temporary worker protections and migrant/immigrant worker issues
  • Federal Minimum Wage Compliance;
  • Overtime Pay;
  • Recordkeeping;
  • Child Labor;
  • Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection;
  • Prevailing Wage Compliance in Public Works;
  • Medical leave (Family and Medical Leave Act claims);
  • Wage garnishment issues, especially those involving consumer credit protection;
  • Youth/child employment arrangements; or
  • Various federal law claims, including the Davis-Bacon Act, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, and other laws.

Most of these claims require an employee to first file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division before pursuing legal action in court. Once a complaint is filed, the WHD will conduct an investigation and determine if any legal remedies are appropriate. If the employee is unsatisfied with the WHD ruling, the employee may request a right-to-sue letter for the right to bring the claim to court.

What If the WHD Can’t Solve My Issue?

If the WHD is not able to successfully complete an investigation, or if their suggested remedy does not fully address the worker’s losses, the worker may still choose to file a private lawsuit. Additional documentation and evidence may be required to provide to the court as support for the worker’s claims. In a private lawsuit, the remedies may involve payment of back wages, punitive damages, and/or injunctive relief.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Wage and Hour Claim?

Wage and hour disputes are complicated and often involve serious losses for a worker. You may wish to consult an experienced employment lawyer in your area if you have any inquiries or disputes involving wages. A skilled employment attorney can evaluate your claim and help you in WHD hearings and court proceedings.