On October 28, the White House introduced a new website designed to make it easier for employees to learn about their employment rights and, if appropriate, to file charges and complaints against their employers. The new site – Worker.gov – is in beta version and is supposedly designed to improve with use and feedback.
Unlike agency specific websites, employees who visit Worker.gov do not need to know which law they think may have been violated or which agency they think can help them. Instead, they are led through a series of user-friendly questions about their lives and jobs, which direct them down paths to determine whether they need assistance, based on the answers they provide, and in the end, if deemed warranted by the site, they are given the option of filing a charge or complaint with the appropriate agency. The site is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Information on Worker.gov is provided under broad headings related to equal treatment, “the right to engage with others to improve wages and working conditions,” the right to a safe and healthy work environment, and the right to be paid. According to the DOL’s press release announcing the site, this is “providing workers access to critical information about their rights under the major labor statutes in a way that makes sense to them.” The focus is on the workers’ sense of fairness, rather than on particular laws. Of course, since unfair is not generally unlawful, it remains to be seen what effect, if any, launch of this site will have on the filing or processing of charges and complaints.