In the United States, it is nearly impossible to report a company to the labor board anonymously. When you submit a report, you will be expected to provide your name to the labor board. Also note that your name will have to appear on the report, and it will be expected to be signed by you.
Labor boards are mandated by law to forward the complaint or report to the company so that the company can answer the claims made in the report. If you intend to remain anonymous, then you should state this to the labor board.
If you have witnessed racial discrimination, toxic dumping, or dangerous working conditions; or maybe you have been denied compensation or benefits to which you are rightfully entitled, regardless of what the case may be, the U.S. Department of Labor is known to provide protections for workers’ rights, benefits, and welfare.
Reporting a violation to the labor board is not always easy. First, you have to understand the exact agency within the U.S. Department of Labor that covers the issue. There are numerous agencies and programs within the U.S. Department of Labor, each focused on separate but related areas. The agency to file your complaint will depend on your individual situation.
If you intend to remain anonymous, the board may not inform the company of the name of the person or organization that filed the charge. In practice, however, it may be difficult to hide the identity of the person who is filing the report or complaint, even though a name is never released.
Once a report is submitted, the individual’s name and basic information about the allegations will be disclosed to the company. By law, labor boards in the United States are required to notify the employer of the charge within 10 days of the filing date. There are also expected to keep report information confidential and will not disclose information related to a charge to the public.
Ways to Report a Company to the Labor Board
Have it in mind that the exact process for reporting or submitting a complaint will vary based on the law and agency that applies to that exact situation. Nonetheless, the following are general key points to consider as you make arrangements to blow the whistle:
- Take into consideration whether this is an issue that can be resolved internally within the company. Always remember that employers can’t fix problems they don’t know about, and some problems are caused unintentionally.
- Ensure you have well-detailed documentation about the problem, reports you make, and how those reports were received by management and coworkers.
- Note the exact laws and agencies that cover your issue. As stipulated above, different agencies within the Department of Labor handle different complaints.
- Reach out to the appropriate agency or division to learn whether you will have to submit your report to a state agency before reporting to the Department of Labor.
- File your report within the timeframe required by the agency or division. If you wait too long, you could lose the right to have your issues addressed through the Department of Labor.
Things You Will Need to Report a Company to the Labor Board
If you believe that a business or company is engaging in unlawful activities, or you have very valid reasons to suspect a business of doing so, then it is imperative you submit a report with the relevant labor board. It is these tips and leads that most labor boards receive from the public frequently that warrant an investigation that leads to vital discoveries. However, to ensure your report is taken seriously, here are key information to include;
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Verify the Company is Breaking the Law
If you are not so sure if a company is breaking the law, here are necessary questions to consider:
- Is the company providing itemized wage statements to employees?
- Is the company paying minimum wage and overtime?
- Do employees get a meal and rest breaks?
- Does the company have a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy?
- Does the company provide a safe working environment for employees?
- Is the company correctly reporting wages and paying payroll taxes?
- Is the company operating with the appropriate licenses or registration?
- Is the company correctly classifying workers as employees versus independent contractors?
Provide Extensive Details
Ensure to make available as many of the following details as possible:
- Name of a registered business or individual employer
- The “DBA” (Doing Business As) name, if different from the registered business name
- Business telephone number
- The number of employees
- Length of time the unlawful activity has been going on
Provide Business Location
Also, make sure you provide detailed information about where the business is located and if there is a possibility of the location changing any time soon. In some cases, the registered business address can vary from where the employer and employees are actually working. Have it in mind that it is more convenient for labor boards to carry out an investigation if they know precisely where work will be taking place. You should also provide;
- The address where the employer and employees can be observed
- If the employer is involved in an ongoing project, how long will the project last? Will the employer be working at another site tomorrow or in the near future?
Evidence and Witnesses
You also need to understand that gathering valid evidence is very pertinent to the successful prosecution of non-compliant companies in the United States. Owing to that, you must provide the board with any helpful evidence, such as:
- Physical evidence, such as payroll records, time cards, or a written contract that would prove unlawful activity
- Pictures, emails, or video recordings
- Names and contact information of other people (especially other employees) who have also witnessed the employer engaging in unlawful activity
If you believe that a business or company is engaging in unlawful activities, or you have very valid reasons to suspect a business of doing so, then it is imperative you submit a report with the relevant labor board. These leads help the necessary boards fulfill their mission of protecting workers and leveling the playing field for businesses.
Have it in mind that leads are processed and investigated owing to a priority system. While you can choose to remain anonymous when you make your report, note that if you leave your contact information, the board may reach out to you to ask follow-up questions, which may determine whether they will investigate the lead or not.