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eTrends - Department of Labor - Lawyer Referral Service

12.17.2010

As of December 13, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor will give some workers whose complaints are not pursued or resolved by the Department a toll-free telephone number for a new American Bar Association-Approved Attorney Referral Service. The worker can use this referral service to attempt to get a private lawyer to take his case. The Department of Labor calls this new program an "unprecedented collaboration" between the Wage and Hour Division and the American Bar Association.

According to the Department of Labor, although the Wage and Hour Division has added 350 new investigators over the past two years, the Wage and Hour Division’s "limited capacity" means that thousands of workers have Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act claims that cannot be resolved by the Division. Now when these workers are told that the Division is declining to pursue their complaints, they will be told how to contact the American Bar Association-Approved Lawyer Referral Service. If they choose to call the referral service, they will be told of the attorney referral provider in their geographic area and could then contact the referral provider for help in locating an attorney.

Depending on the stage at which the referral is given — intake, complaint review, conciliation, or after an investigation — the Wage and Hour Division may send a letter to the worker containing information about the complaint and a form for the worker or his attorney to request certain documents from his file.

Please click here to visit the Department of Labor’s Attorney Referral System webpage for more information and frequently asked questions.

Please contact Susan Parrott with any questions.

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Smith Anderson publishes eTrends periodically as a service to clients and friends. The purpose of this eTrends is to provide general information about a significant legal development in the field of employment law. Readers should be aware that the facts may vary from one situation to another, so the conclusions stated herein may not be applicable to the reader’s particular circumstances.

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Jamie Greene
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T: 919.838.2045

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