Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Woman: Interim Attorney General for the state of New York, Barbara Underwood, has filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Labor. The attorney general claims that a new program put in place by the Department of Labor gives employers a get out of jail free card and allows them to escape repercussions for violations of workers’ rights. So here to help examine this issue is Managing Partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, welcome back.
Paul: Thank you.
Woman: All right. So what exactly is this program that they’ve put into place?
Paul: Yeah. So U.S. Department of Labor is the watchdog. They make sure employees get their fair wages, get paid overtime. They came around and made sure there’s not 15-year-olds working in factories. But here, the attorney general doesn’t like the fact that the new mandate is gonna be that the companies themselves audit and review to make sure they’re doing it right, and she just has lots of questions.
Woman: Right. So, I mean, what exactly are some of her concerns here, talking about the get out of jail free card, for example?
Paul: First of all, rules are confusing, right? So the employers may not even know all the rules, and they’re supposed to be enforcing them. Employees certainly don’t. So she’s concerned that they might just be some mess ups there but probably more concerned there could be a cover-up or there could be a sense…”Hey, don’t you report this, or you could lose your job.” So she just likes the idea of a third-party agency kinda coming in and kinda leveling the playing field.
Woman: Ultimately, what’s the purpose of A.G. Underwood’s lawsuit?
Paul: Well, all she wants, she put a FOIL request, Freedom of Information. She said, “I want to get more about this program.” They didn’t respond to her. She didn’t like that, so she filed the lawsuit.
Woman: Okay. Should have responded. So what should our viewers at home watching right now do to confirm that they are being treated fairly in the workplace? And if they’re not, what should they do?
Paul: So the U.S. Department of Labor is there, hotline, anonymous. We also have a New York State Department of Labor. That’s the first place to go. You can talk to a representative. They’ll send you information. And/or speak to your HR person at your office. But if you’re not comfortable, the agency is a real comfortable place to go.
Woman: All right. Paul, thank you so much for answering our questions.
Paul: You’re welcome. Sure.
Woman: We really appreciate it.