What Is The Wage And Hour Division?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) charges the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) with the tasks of coordinating and enforcing federal laws. Consequently, the WHD enforces these laws in a couple of different ways, including investigation of employers. If you have a complaint against your employer for unpaid wages, file a complaint to the WHD.

What Laws Do The Wage And Hour Division Enforce?

WHD enforce several federal laws. During an investigation, WHD examines the employer to what laws apply to the business. If subject to the laws, WHD checks to see if the business is complying.

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act
  • The Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Consumer Credit Protection Act

How Does A Wage And Hour Division Investigation Work?

1. Investigation prompts

Although many investigations through WHD are prompted from a complaint, some investigations are not. However, complaints will always be kept private. WHD reserves the right to initiate an investigation whenever they see fit. For example, some types of businesses are often under scrutiny because they have a history of law violations. Moreover, most businesses never find out why their business came under investigation.

2. Introduction of the investigation

Most cases of investigation fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Additionally, FLSA requires representatives of DOL, such as an WHD investigator, to investigate employers by collecting data on pay, hours, and other employment practices.

3. Gathering information

The investigator reviews and examines business records, including payroll and timesheet documents. Naturally, the investigator, by law, is allowed to take notes and keep photocopies of these documents. As a result, the next step may include private interviews with employees.

4. Meet with the employer

Once all information has been gathered and reviewed, the investigator meets with the employer. During this meeting, the investigator shares his or her findings with the employer. If the law has been violated, the investigator offers plans to correct the problems.

5. Remedies and Procedures

When the law has been violated, the employer is obligated to comply with the law and provide certain remedies for the error, whether paying the back wages to the employees and liquidated damages on top of that. In some cases, DOL may decide to file a lawsuit on behalf of the employees. However, an employee can privately sue an employer for damages.

6. Retaliation

During this time, an employee may fear retaliation when she or he filed a complaint against the employer. Finally, if any negative employment action is traced back to the motive of retaliation, the employee can sue for retaliation as well.

The Wage and Hour Division enforces employment law that protects employee rights throughout the United States. Furthermore, the WHD offices are accessible in most big cities.


If you have not received your rightful wages or suspect that your employer is violating the law, contact us.

Don’t hesitate; talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.