On April 1, 2010, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced DOL’s “We Can Help” campaign in Chicago, where she told an audience of union leaders and community members that the DOL “will not allow anyone to be denied his or her rightful pay — especially when so many in our nation are working long, hard and often dangerous hours."
The nationwide "We Can Help" campaign, spearheaded by DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), is an outreach program directed at the nation’s low-wage and “vulnerable” workers, such as workers in construction, janitorial services, hotels, food services and home health care services industries. The program also addresses topics such as rights in the workplace and how to file a complaint with the WHD to recover wages owed. Additionally, the campaign underscores the awareness that wage and hour laws apply to all workers in the U.S. regardless of their immigration status. In conjunction with this enforcement program, DOL has added more than 250 field investigators nationwide to help in this campaign.
Additionally, the inter-governmental agencies’ concerted enforcement efforts should not be overlooked. An immigration worksite visit could potentially involve a concurrent or subsequent DOL WHD audit and vice versa. In DOL’s efforts to protect the “vulnerable” workers in the U.S., it is yet to be seen if DOL will follow the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s lead in potentially offering incentives to undocumented workers in order to gain cooperation from them to detect and determine an employer’s liabilities.