Planned Obsolescence With Smart Phones. A Good Idea?
Johnson & Johnson to Pay $2.2 Billion to 46 States To Settle Alleged Unfair Marketing

U.S. Department Labor Division Recovered $1.2 Billion During 2012 For Employer Benefit Programs

Within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) federal agency, its Employee Benefits Security Division (EBSA) oversees employee benefits programs, including about 707,000 retirement plans, 2.3 million health plans, and related employer-sponsored benefits plans (e.g., stock plans, IRA plans). All of these plans cover about 141 million individuals (e.g., employees and their dependents), with assets of about $7.1 billion.

The oversight function by the EBSA includes enforcement when employers violate labor laws. During 2012, the EBSA:

"... closed 3,566 civil investigations, with 2,570 (72.1%) resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective action. EBSA often pursues voluntary compliance as a means to correct violations and restore losses to employee benefit plans. However, in cases where voluntary compliance efforts have failed, or which involve issues for which voluntary compliance is not appropriate, EBSA forwards a recommendation to the Solicitor of Labor that litigation be initiated. In FY 2012, 218 cases were referred for litigation..."

Also during 2012, the EBSA closed 318 criminal investigations and indicted 117 persons about crimes related to benefits plans. All of that agency activity, including both voluntary and involuntary compliance, resulted in the EBSA achieving about $1.27 billion in monetary results. That's a huge amount of money that employees would have lost otherwise.

Some examples of employer violations and EBSA resolution activity during 2012:

Another way to look at this enforcement activity: it's a lot of companies -- a lot of senior executives -- violating wage laws. It's not just low-wage or immigrant employees affected, but white-collar, middle-income employees (and their families) affected.

The EBSA also operates an Informal Complaint process, where employees can submit complaints about alleged violations and abuses. During 2012, the EBSA:

"... EBSA's Benefits Advisors closed nearly 240,000 inquiries and recovered $260.7 million in benefits on behalf of workers and their families through informal resolution of individual complaints..."

This is government working effectively, folks. Employees can submit complaints by contacting the EBSA via its toll-free phone number (1-866-444-3272), or visit

To read the full report, download the 2012 EBSA Fact Sheet (Adobe PDF, 52.9K). The latest EBSA Fact Sheet is also available online.

I look forward to reading about the EBSA's performance during 2013, despite the 16-day federal government shutdown which cost the country an estimated $24 billion, and which probably hampered EBSA performance.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.