August 31, 2011
Website allows public to search for labor violations
The United States Department of Labor under Secretary Hilda Solis continues to be the standout, bright spot for workers under the Obama Administration. Over the past two and a half years, DOL has stepped up in a big way to protect the lives and livelihoods of American workers. When it comes to enforcing the law and winning for working people, we could not ask for better than today’s U.S. Department of Labor. (Are you listening, North Carolina DOL?)
To wit, U.S. DOL has launched a new online tool “to improve public access to and understanding of the department’s enforcement actions.”
“These improvements to our online enforcement database are part of our commitment to open, transparent enforcement,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “By making this information available and easy to use, we’re helping to ensure a level playing field for employers who follow the law.”
In addition to mapping capabilities, the updated site allows users to easily view important agency metrics; perform keyword searches; filter data by year, violations or penalties; and export search results or an entire data set into downloadable formats. A new “labs” feature allows users to create data visualizations and animations using several decades of MSHA data.
For example, in the last 30 days ending August 31, DOL has assessed $1.9 million in penalties for OSHA violations. To-date, DOL’s Wage and Hour division has investigated 50,364 cases of wage and hour violations, resulting in over $681 million in back wages paid and over $34.6 million in penalties.
Users can search the data by agency (for example, OSHA or WHD), by state or zip code, by company name, and other ways to discover labor law violations.
In carrying out this mission, the Agencies administer and enforce a variety of Federal labor laws that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions, a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay, and freedom from employment discrimination, as well as the integrity of their pensions and health plans. This site aims to make the enforcement data, collected by these agencies in the exercise of their mission, accessible and searchable. It intends, also, to engage you the public in new and creative ways of using this data. It is a work in progress, but it is foremost our invitation to you, the American public, to engage with us, and react to our work by telling us what you think, and what you would like to see here!