An Overview of Changes Made By the Department of Labor Over the Last Year

Posted by: Chris

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is a federal agency that is responsible for enforcing laws that are designed to protect workers across the country. Over the last year, the DOL has been more active than usual. Here’s an overview of the changes made by the DOL within the last year:

The Definition of Intern

The DOL established a new test that employers can use to determine whether or not a worker can be legally classified as an intern. The new test asks employers to consider a number of factors when classifying workers as interns, including but not limited to:

  • Training opportunities
  • Whether or not academic credit is offered
  • Duration of the relationship between the worker and the employer
  • The worker’s acknowledgement that there is no guarantee that he or she will be offered a paid job at the end of the internship
  • Type of work

Many experts believe that the new test gives employers more flexibility when it comes to classifying workers as interns. Therefore, this new test could lead to an increase in the number of interns in the workforce. 

Request For Information on Overtime Wages

Last year, the DOL asked the public for their opinion on changing the existing overtime laws. The DOL sought the public’s feedback on who should qualify for overtime. For example, the DOL wanted the public’s opinion on whether a worker’s salary, job duties, and/or industry should determine if he qualifies for overtime. The DOL has not implemented any changes yet, but the agency has revealed that they hope to finalize plans for the new overtime law by the first quarter of next year.

The Issuance of Opinion Letters

In the past, employers could ask the DOL to explain how a certain labor law applied to the employer’s specific circumstances. This way, the employer could ensure that they did not accidentally violate any of the federal labor laws. Many employers found these opinion letters helpful, but the DOL stopped issuing them in 2010. Fortunately, the DOL decided to restart the practice of issuing opinion letters last year. Now, employers can submit a request for an opinion letter or review existing letters on the DOL’s website to ensure they remain compliant with federal labor laws.

The labor laws in the U.S. are constantly evolving, and it’s your employer’s responsibility to keep up with these changes. If your employer is violating a labor law, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys fight to protect your rights and seek justice against your employer. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.