Yet Another Jobs-Killing White House Initiative

Sigh.  They really don’t get it.

In an unprecedented and controversial move, the White House has launched a new program at the Department of Labor which will refer workers who have complaints about their bosses to a toll free number at the American Bar Association, where they can get a lawyer to work on their case on a contingency fee basis.

More than 40,000 workers annually contact the Department of Labor with complaints about their bosses. But Labor can’t get to all of them, an estimated 10%, because of budget constraints, the White House says. So the White House has instead launched a program for “unresolved complainants” with the ABA. Workers will now be provided a toll-free number that connects them with ABA lawyers nationwide who are experienced in things like alleged workplace abuses of minimum wage, overtime and family medical leave laws.

The White House in a statement says this is “a new effort between the federal government and private bar to assist complainants” who may need help with “worker rights.” In a statement, the ABA calls this new alliance “unprecedented.”

It is a sad fact of our legal system that small claims are too expensive to defend, and there is virtually never a penalty for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.  The lawyers who field these calls will mostly be bottom-feeders looking to wring a few bucks out of employers regardless of the merits of the case, and they will largely succeed given the cost of defending even meritless claims.  

Obama appears to honestly think that a speech full of pro-business cotton candy platitudes to the Chamber of Commerce will counteract a relentlessly anti-business agenda, a Department of Labor full of anti-business pro-union partisans, and a massive increase in regulatory burdens.  I am not sure if it would be better or worse if he were merely being cynical.

Published in: on February 9, 2011 at 10:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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