Department of Labor

Recovery of Unpaid Wages on Behalf of Claimants

The Department investigates complaints about unpaid wages. Two units within the Department respond to such complaints, but each unit deals with a different group of workers. We compared the practices of the two units and found that, while one unit always assessed interest and penalties when employers underpaid workers, the other unit rarely assessed interest and penalties in such cases. For the three years we examined, the unassessed interest totaled $1.7 million and the unassessed penalties totaled between $1.3 and $6.7 million. We further noted that, unlike the firs unit, the second unit did not take strong action against employers who repeatedly underpaid wages. We recommended that the Department strengthen its response to wage violations. 94-S-56