If you thought the regulatory watchdogs would become lap dogs under the Bush administration, you were wrong.
In fiscal 2002, the U.S. Labor Department collected $143 million from companies that violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (), the largest total in more than 10 years and a 33 percent increase over 2001.
Chalk it up to beefed-up enforcement of several wage-and-hour issues. Top targets: child labor violators and low-wage industries such as garment manufacturing, agriculture and health care.
Workers are also learning their rights under theAct ( ), resulting in a 25 percent spike in FMLA-related complaints in 2002 over 2001. The Labor Department hit up employers for more than $3.7 million in back wages for FMLA violations, a record high. Biggest complaints: Employers' refusal to grant and retaliating against workers who took such leave.