State attorneys general (AGs) have been playing a key role in enforcing and protecting workers’ rights.
State AGs have dramatically increased their involvement in this area in recent years; this report documents these activities in detail. Here are just a few examples of the many ways state AGs are protecting workers’ rights:
Helping workers attain safer working conditions during the pandemic
Recovering stolen wages through civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions
Fighting misclassification of workers as independent contractors instead of employees
Cracking down on companies’ use of noncompete and no-poach agreements, which limit job mobility
Proposing and supporting legislation to safeguard workers’ rights
State AG offices engaged in workers’ rights issues should continue to build on the work they’re doing, and more state AGs should join the effort.
State legislatures should grant explicit authority to state attorneys general to enforce workplace rights laws and should ideally also fund positions for enforcement.
Worker organizations and advocates should seek to build relationships and work with their state AGs to safeguard workers’ rights in their states.
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program have released a new toolkit on strategic communication, a critical component of driving compliance with workplace laws. Communicating about agency enforcement, which is critical to informing the public about their rights and responsibilities, is one of the most effective ways to deter violations. These goals are more important than ever as labor enforcement agencies strive to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
This resource addresses why agencies should use media and other means of strategic communications and offers suggestions on how to do so. In a moment of reduced state budgets and limited resources, media coverage and strategic communications are a cost-effective way for agencies to multiply their impact and inform workers of their rights.