Tuesday, May 10, 2011

For Workers Who Want to Sue Their Employer, the DOL Has an App For That

The U.S. Department of Labor has jumped headlong into the high-tech pool.  Yesterday the agency announced the launch of a time sheet application for smartphones that will help employees independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.  The free app is available in English and Spanish, and users will be able to add comments on any information related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly, or monthly format; and e-mail the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.

In a press release announcing the launch, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis made it clear that the app is designed to make it easier to bring legal actions against employers.  “This app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.”  Employers should expect to see evidence gathered in this manner start turning up during Wage and Hour Division investigations, whether as a double-check against records maintained by the employer or when the employer has failed to maintain proper records.

For now, the app is compatible only with Apple products, but plans are in the works to develop versions for BlackBerry, Android, and other devices.  What’s that?  You’re not worried because you don’t believe your employees use smartphones?  Well, even aside from the fact that you're probably wrong, the Wage and Hour Division’s website also offers a printable work hours calendar, in both English and Spanish, to track rate of pay, work start and stop times, and arrival and departure times.  Not surprisingly, the calendar includes easy-to-understand information about workers’ rights and how to file a wage violation complaint.

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