As of September 13, 2023, the United States Department of Labor (DOL)'s Wage and Hour Division and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have entered into a partnership that will allow the agencies to maximize the enforcement of federal labor and employment laws by sharing information, conducting joint investigations, and collaborating on outreach and training. In light of this news, employers may expect more robust enforcement actions and more thorough investigations into alleged violations.

The EEOC is charged with enforcing federal discrimination laws, including Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, while the DOL's Wage and Hour Division enforces federal the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the PUMP Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act. Greater collaboration between the two agencies may mean that company information shared with one may be accessed by both agencies. The partnership also opens the door to joint investigations.

Constangy partners Jim Coleman and Robin Shea spoke to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on the potential implications of the agencies' newly announced partnership. 

"The practical upshot is that employers will need to be aware of the possibility of enforcement action by both agencies," said Jim and Robin on what employers should anticipate. "There could be significant overlap between the EEOC's mission to prevent discrimination with respect to pay and the DOL's mission to ensure that pay practices comply with the FLSA, and that women taking lactation breaks at work receive compensation for that time, as required by the PUMP Act."

Robin has more than 30 years' experience counseling employers and representing them before government agencies and in employment litigation. Robin is editor in chief of Constangy’s legal bulletins and its four law blogs Affirmative Action AlertCalifornia SnapshotCyber Advisor, and Employment & Labor Insider.

Jim leads Constangy's Wage and Hour Compliance & Litigation practice group. He has more than 40 years of experience counseling employers on wage and hour matters and defending employers in wage and hour class and collective litigation and administrative proceedings.

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