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Don’t get caught in the Labor Dept’s wider wage-audit net

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Previously, the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division focused most of its audit efforts on selected low-wage industries with immigrant work forces and high rates of labor-law violation, such as health care, agriculture and garment manufacturing. New targets include manufacturing and service industries. In fiscal 2003, the agency won back pay for a record number (30 percent higher than 2002), and it resolved cases quicker (average investigation time fell by 16 percent). Advice: Since 75 percent of DOL investigations still stem from complaints (not random audits), your best bet is to do a self-audit first to make sure no wage violations are bubbling under the surface. For advice on complying with wage laws, go to For advice on complying with the new overtime rules visit

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