What can an employer expect in the event of a US Department of Labor (DOL) investigation?

Author: Jessica Sussman

The DOL has enumerated investigate procedures for a compliance officer to use when conducting an investigation. The officer will first introduce himself or herself and show the employer his or her official credentials. The officer will then discuss with a representative of the employer the records to be reviewed, and the representative should then make any necessary explanations about the records. The officer will likely request a space for the officer's use and to designate some members of the staff who can answer questions about the employer's records and payroll systems. The officer will then review records to determine what laws apply and what, if any, exemptions are available. Such records include but are not limited to, payroll and time records. Information from the employer's records will not be revealed to any unauthorized individuals. The officer may request to interview certain employees privately to confirm payroll or time records, to identify workers duties in sufficient detail to decide what if any exemptions apply, and to determine if minors are illegally employed. When the above has been completed, the compliance officer will usually request a meeting with the employer, or the compliance officer's representative, to discuss his findings. The officer will inform the employer of his findings, and advise of any violations and the employer will be told how to correct them. If the employer owes back wages, the employer will be required to pay the amount due.