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September 17, 2008         DOL Home > OALJ Home   

I have an employment-related question; can you help me?

  • OALJ's role as an administrative court limits our ability to provide assistance

    The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges, is an administrative court. As such, this office has very limited ability to answer questions about the application of labor laws. See FAQ on rules about contacting OALJ. Thus, for the most part, OALJ is not able to assist persons seeking advice on an employment related question.

  • General assistance for finding the right agency to answer questions

    Although OALJ cannot answer most employment questions, the United States Department of Labor National Call Center provides nationwide toll-free assistance to DOL customers with questions about job loss, business closures, pay and leave, workplace safety and health, pension and health benefits, and workplace injuries. In addition to answering general information, the Call Center will relay any specific inquiry to the proper office. The National Toll Free Number is 1-866-4-USA-DOL or 1-866-487-2365. The TTY number is: 1-877-889-5627. Live assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    In addition, detailed contact information about other DOL agencies, as well as links to sources of information about labor laws, is available from DOL's Main Contact Page.

    Many employment-related questions are addressed on the Department of Labor's Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (elaws) interactive system. This system is designed to help employers and employees understand and comply with numerous employment laws enforced by DOL. Each elaws Advisor gives advice and provides information on a specific law or regulation based on the user's particular situation.

    The Office of Small Business Programs also has National office contact information on enforcement agencies on its Small Business Compliance Assistance Page, and other contact information on its Regulatory Compliance Assistance Page. See also The U. S. Small Business Administration's Laws and Regulations Page, which has links to information relating to small businesses.

  • Assistance for specific questions

    Here are some suggested contacts for the types of questions OALJ often receives, but is not in a position to provide an answer:

    • Civil rights complaint: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), has excellent information on filing a complaint at its Web site. [EEOC is not a Department of Labor agency, and this link will exit OALJ's web site]. If a government contractor is involved, the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has some overlapping jurisdiction with EEOC and a list of OFCCP's key personnel is found on DOL's web site.

    • Wage and Hour questions: The Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Adminstration may be able to answer questions about some job-related questions. Its web site contains advisors on questions on Federal child labor rules from young workers, parents, teachers and employers; information for employers and employees regarding Federal minimum wage, overtime, child labor, and recordkeeping requirements; and the Family Medical and Leave Act. The elaws Advisor may also be helpful. The Wage/Hour web site includes contact information for Wage and Hour District Offices. In addition, you may submit e-mail questions to Wage and Hour on a Customer Service Request Form or call Wage and Hour's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

      For questions about unfair labor practices, call (202) 693-0067.

    • ERISA questions: EBSA's Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, Phone: (202) 219-8776, may be able to assist members of the public with technical questions relating to pension, health, or other benefits offered by employers and protected by ERISA, COBRA, and and HIPAA, (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). EBSA's Web site contains an extensive collection of information concerning legal rights and responsibilities relating to employment benefits, and a very helpful contacts page. The elaws Advisor may also be helpful.

    • Immigration-related questions: Most aspects of immigration are administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. OALJ occasionally receives questions about reporting unfair labor practices or suspected illegal immigration. We do not have investigatory authority. Investigations of suspected illegal aliens or suspected illegal immigration activity is a function of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Information about complaints of unfair employment practices grounded in the fact that individuals are or are not a U.S. citizens or because of their immigration status or type of work authorization is found on the web site of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices.

      The Employment and Training Administration, Office of Workforce Security, Division of Foreign Labor Certification's web site has information on foreign labor certification programs, including contact information. ETA has established an e-mail account at for inquiries about the H-1B Specialty (Professional) Workers Program -- "LCAs."

      The Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division administers enforcement aspects of DOL-immigration related programs. The Wage/Hour web site includes contact information for Wage and Hour District Offices. In addition, you may submit e-mail questions to Wage and Hour on a Customer Service Request Form or call Wage and Hour's toll-free help line at 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

    • Safety and Health questions: Information about contacting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is found on OSHA's web site. The elaws Advisor may also be helpful.

    • Whistleblower complaints: OALJ adjudicates cases involving airline, nuclear, environmental, and commercial trucking whistleblowers. You cannot, however, initiate a complaint at OALJ, but must first file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Information about filing a complaint with OSHA is found on its Workers' Page

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