In an unprecedented and controversial move, the White House has launched a new program at the Department of Labor which will refer workers who have complaints about their bosses to a toll free number at the American Bar Association, where they can get a lawyer to work on their case on a contingency fee basis.
More than 40,000 workers annually contact the Department of Labor with complaints about their bosses. But Labor can’t get to all of them, an estimated 10%, because of budget constraints, the White House says. So the White House has instead launched a program for “unresolved complainants” with the ABA. Workers will now be provided a toll-free number that connects them with ABA lawyers nationwide who are experienced in things like alleged workplace abuses of minimum wage, overtime and family medical leave laws.
The White House in a statement says this is “a new effort between the federal government and private bar to assist complainants” who may need help with “worker rights.” In a statement, the ABA calls this new alliance “unprecedented.”
But will this create more lawsuits against companies? Will it stymie job creation at the very companies the President says he needs to help lower the high unemployment rate, including small businesses? Will this new program simply make it easier for lawyers to get business they may have garnered anyway?
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
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