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What’s this I hear about a partnership between the government and the ABA to help employees sue?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. I’ve heard that employees may soon be getting free legal services to sue employers. Is this true?

A. You are probably thinking about the new initiative between the U.S. Department of Labor and the American Bar Association (ABA) regarding FMLA and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims. It could mean more lawsuits, but does not involve free legal services. (See “DOL teams up with ABA—expect more FMLA, FLSA suits.”)

In November 2010, the federal government announced an initiative between the DOL and the ABA to increase workers’ access to private attorneys to enforce their FMLA and FLSA rights. Starting on Dec. 13, 2010, if the DOL cannot resolve a worker’s FMLA or FLSA complaint, it will provide a toll-free phone number the employee can use to get a referral to a local attorney.

If the DOL began an investigation, it will provide the information to the complainant to be turned over to the attorney. Essentially, this means that employees will have an easier time finding lawyers to take their cases.

Employers should make sure their policies and practices comply with the FMLA and FLSA.

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