“PLAN/PREVENT/PROTECT”: How the Department of Labor’s New Strategy May Affect the Wage and Hour Arena


In April 2010, in conjunction with the Spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda of the Department of Labor, the Secretary of Labor announced a new enforcement strategy called “Plan/Prevent/Protect”: The Beginning of a Broader Regulatory and Enforcement Strategy.

According to the DOL, the purpose of this new initiative is to replace what it has termed the “catch me if you can” approach. In other words, the strategy is aimed at requiring employers to “find and fix” violations and ensure they are in compliance with wage and hour, and workplace safety laws before the arrival of DOL investigators. As the DOL explained, the new strategy calls for employers to take three steps to ensure compliance with the law:

• Plan — employers and other regulated entities will have to create a plan to find and fix violations of the law and other risks to workers.

• Prevent — employers and others will have to thoroughly implement their plans in a way that actually prevents violations of the law and other risks and hazards.

• Protect — employers and others will have to ensure that their plans actually protect workers.

The DOL cautions that it intends to consider any employers who do not take “these steps to comprehensively address risks, hazards, and inequities in their workplaces” to be “out of compliance with the law.”

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