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Wage and Hour Division Creates Attorney Referral System

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In a move that has employers concerned about increased wage and hour litigation, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor, in conjunction with the American Bar Association (ABA), has created an Attorney Referral System which will provide referrals to local “attorney referral programs” so that employees who wish to pursue a wage claim against their employer can find a qualified attorney for assistance.

Employees seeking to pursue a claim will be given a toll-free number to contact the Attorney Referral System once they have been informed that the WHD will not proceed with their claim.

The likely consequences of this new attorney referral system between the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Bar Association is that more employees will file lawsuits for alleged wage and hour violations and will not seek redress through the administrative process. This will also result in increased settlement costs or litigation costs because attorneys fees are usually claimed by the employee’s attorney, whereas, the WHD would not recover attorney fees when handling a matter.