DOL Actions Reinforce Workers Rights to Safety and Work-Life Balance

The Department of Labor (DOL) has seen its efforts on behalf of the U.S. workforce bear fruit recently, with two different DOL offices reaching agreements with two large corporations, T.G.I. Fridays and Walmart, which were found in breach of separate policy compliances.

The DOL Wage and Hour Division (WHD), after an investigation of a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violation involving the restaurant chain T.G.I. Fridays, recently announced that, as a result of their findings, the company will alter its policy regarding leave.

The WHD’s principal deputy administrator, Laura Fortman, stated: “Workers should not have to choose between their job, and the family members who need their care.” She also asserted that “ensuring a work-life balance is the cornerstone of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which has been the law of the land for 20 years.”

KRA Corporation applauds the efforts of policy watchdogs to ensure that U.S. workers receive simple protections that entitle them to provide for family beyond simply bringing home a paycheck. As an organization whose efforts on behalf of workers and the workforce are underpinned by the desire to create strong communities, we understand the importance of a stable family unit.

In a separate case, Walmart has agreed to sign a corporate-wide settlement with the DOL. The agreement comes as a result of health and safety enforcement resolutions dating back to 2011. The settlement encompasses and addresses specific safety and health conditions in all 2,857 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores under Federal jurisdiction.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, said this of the settlement: “We hope this sends a strong message that the law requires employers to provide safe working conditions, and OSHA will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that all employers follow the law.”

Worker safety cannot be stressed enough in light of what employees and employers both stand to lose in its absence. KRA hopes that the DOL’s far-reaching actions on behalf of safety and health in the workforce is something that will promote the culture of safety for employers

In a similar ruling, OSHA now requires all Federal agencies to submit their OSHA-required injury and illness data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics every year. Dr. Michaels believes that “the data will help us streamline and improve programs to reduce occupational hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths within the Federal workforce.”

KRA Corporation remains supportive of the DOL’s continued efforts to ensure the safety and the financial security of the U.S. workforce as it proves that the DOL remains vigilant, taking its mandate seriously in getting workers the opportunities they deserve and in turn protecting them, too.