In an unprecedented and controversial move, the White House has launched a new program at the Department of Labor which will refer workers who have complaints about their bosses to a toll free number at the American Bar Association, where they can get a lawyer to work on their case on a contingency fee basis.
More than 40,000 workers annually contact the Department of Labor with complaints about their bosses. But Labor can’t get to all of them, an estimated 10%, because of budget constraints, the White House says. So the White House has instead launched a program for “unresolved complainants” with the ABA. Workers will now be provided a toll-free number that connects them with ABA lawyers nationwide who are experienced in things like alleged workplace abuses of minimum wage, overtime and family medical leave laws.
The White House in a statement says this is “a new effort between the federal government and private bar to assist complainants” who may need help with “worker rights.” In a statement, the ABA calls this new alliance “unprecedented.”
But will this create more lawsuits against companies? Will it stymie job creation at the very companies the President says he needs to help lower the high unemployment rate, including small businesses? Will this new program simply make it easier for lawyers to get business they may have garnered anyway?
And since Vice President Joe Biden says the lawyers will be working on a contingency fee basis, and not pro bono, doesn’t that pretty much guarantee that the lawyers will be more apt to earn those fees via lawsuits against businesses?
Moreover, will the government set up an ABA referral service at Labor for small businesses and employers who are having trouble with miscreant employees or are being harassed by frivolous lawsuits filed by troublemaking workers?
Small businesses may have cause for further concern, given the controversial, allegedly anti-business history of the officials the Obama administration has nominated to oversee these new programs.
In the mean-time, we have people like John McCain saying this sort of thing about this radical President:
“I think it’s pretty clear that the president has really pivoted to a much more centrist position, which I think makes it much more for us easier to work with him.”
McCain is an idiot. Anyone who believes that Obama has pivoted to a much more centrist position is an idiot.
God help this country.