U.S. Department of Labor

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The U.S. Department of Labor "fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support," its website states.

Lack of support for whistleblowers

From 2002 to 2008, the Labor Department only "ruled in favor of [corporate] whistleblowers 17 times out of 1,273 complaints," and dismissed 841 cases. Many of the dismissals were based "on the technicality that workers at corporate subsidiaries aren't covered" by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Act, passed after the Enron and Worldcom scandals, contained the first federal protections for corporate whistleblowers. Senator Patrick Leahy, who helped draft the Act, says it covers workers in corporate subsidiaries. "Otherwise," he said, "a company that wants to do something shady, could just do it in their subsidiary." The Labor Department disagrees. One of the whistleblower cases it dismissed involves communications giant WPP. A former staffer at WPP firm Ogilvy & Mather claims he was fired "in retaliation for his cooperation with a federal criminal investigation into his employer's billing practices." Two former Ogilvy executives received prison sentences for overbilling the U.S. government's Office of National Drug Control Policy, but the staffer's whistleblower complaint was dismissed. Even though WPP describes its firms as "centrally integrated," the Labor Department ruled that Ogilvy is a subsidiary not covered by Sarbanes-Oxley. [1]



  • Office of the 21st Century Workforce (21CW)
  • Administrative Review Board (ARB)
  • Benefits Review Board (BRB)
  • Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  • Center for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives (CFBCI)
  • Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
  • Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB)
  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  • Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
  • Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  • Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
  • Employment & Training Administration (ETA)
  • Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA)
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
  • Office of Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)
  • Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
  • Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  • Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP)
  • Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
  • Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD)
  • Veterans' Employment & Training Service (VETS)
  • Women's Bureau (WB)

Contact information

U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Website: http://www.dol.gov/index.htm

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Jennifer Levitz, "Whistleblowers Are Left Dangling: Technicality Leads Labor Department To Dismiss Cases," Wall Street Journal (sub req'd), September 4, 2008.

External resources

External articles