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February 4, 2022

Interagency Cooperation Could Result in Increased Enforcement

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), between the U. S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (DOL/WHD) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has been released signaling a new era of interagency cooperation.

The MOU memorializes a voluntary agreement between the two agencies in their efforts to work together to address a mutual need for information sharing, joint investigations and enforcement activity, training, education, and outreach. While the MOU is not legally binding nor is it enforceable by any party, it does signal an intent by the agencies to coordinate investigations of matters arising within both agencies’ jurisdictions.

What does this new era of cooperation mean to employers? A likely surge in investigations[i] and the potential for increased liability. Specifically, the MOU provides that “when, during an investigation DOL/WHD personnel has reason to believe that there may be unlawful conduct that falls within the jurisdiction of the NLRB, they will advise the employee(s) that an opportunity may exist to file a charge with the NLRB.”

Employers can take the following steps to help mitigate their risk of potential violations:

  • Audit all internal wage and hour practices to assure compliance with state and federal wage laws.
  • Train all personnel on proper wage and hour practices (e.g., clocking in/out, meal/rest period, and overtime laws).
  • Provide in-depth training on wage and hour practices for supervisory personnel.
  • Audit existing wage and hour policies to ensure compliance with state and federal wage laws.
  • Hold employees accountable for violations of company wage and hour policies and practices.
  • Review all company policies to ensure they do not conflict with National Labor Relations Act protections.  

Employers with questions concerning wage and hour practices/audits or potential National Labor Relations Act conflicts should contact Western Growers.

[i] On February 1, 2022 the DOL announced its plans to hire 100 investigators to support its WHD compliance efforts.