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Wage and Hour Division Gets New Leader

Posted on April 17, 2009 | in Labor News | by

Earlier this week, President Obama announced he intends to nominate Lorelei Boylan as administrator for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Thomasina Rogers as chairwoman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).

The practices of the Wage and Hour Division under the Bush administration have come under fire recently. Last month, the Government Accountability Office issued a report saying the division, which is supposed to enforce minimum wage, overtime and child labor laws, had not enforced the laws, leaving low-income workers vulnerable to wage theft.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has announced the agency will add 250 new investigators, an increase of more than one-third. Toward that end, the agency already has begun the process of adding 150 new investigators to its field offices. In addition, another 100 investigators will be hired to ensure that contractors on economic-recovery projects comply with the applicable laws. This is a big step in the right direction to rebuild the agency, which lost more than 200 investigators during the Bush administration.

Boylan currently serves as director of strategic enforcement for the New York State Labor Department’s Labor Standards Division, where she supervises the apparel industry/fair wages task force, a statewide unit that investigates low-wage industries. Under her leadership, the task force has flourished into a groundbreaking investigative unit with a high rate of success in resolving wage and hour investigations. 

Rogers has been a member of the OSHRC since 1998. The commission decides appeals of citations or penalties resulting from OSHA inspections of workplaces.

Prior to joining the OSHRC, Rogers served as chairwoman of the Administrative Conference of the United States and as legal counsel to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where she developed regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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