Department of Labor Gets on Board with the Apple App Store

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is ushering its practices into the 21st century. It has recently released a new application for iPhone and iPod Touch that allows users to easily track the hours they have worked, an action that has the potential to greatly impact the current volume of unpaid wages and general wage violation claims against employers.

The new application makes it easy to track daily and weekly work time, breaks and overtime. It is available in English as well as Spanish, and makes record-keeping as simple as swiping one's finger across a touchscreen.

The DOL anticipates that the application will help resolve wage disputes between employees and employers more efficiently, since it creates tangible evidence of actual hours that can easily be used as evidence in a DOL wage violation investigation.

A wage violation investigation often starts with an employee complaint. An employee, now potentially armed with recorded evidence of a violation, registers a complaint with the department, who keeps the complaint anonymous. Then, DOL investigators pore over records and interview employees to determine whether an employer is in violation of wage laws. If a violation has occurred, employers may be subject to a $1,000 fine. Should employees pursue a personal lawsuit for wage violations, the damages could be considerably higher.

This process and the potential resulting fines have employers worried about the new application. Now, employees can automatically track hours, breaks and overtime, then take action against their employer through a federal investigation or personal lawsuit.

The new application-which the DOL hopes to release for Android and Blackberry markets soon-is a boon for employees since it puts the power to track wages and hold employers accountable, right at their fingertips.