Dear ABA, I’d Like to Tattle on My Supervisor, Please

I’m certain that nothing will go wrong with this:

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.

One wonders just how many of the existing annual complainants have legitimate beefs with their bosses and how many of them are simply accustomed to complaining about everything and everyone?

My thought is that the ABA is happy to help in this new partnership because even when there is no reasonable basis, many organizations will settle to avoid protracted legal costs, loss of goodwill, etc. In short, it’s good for (the legal) business.

Wait, the ABA is not done with good deeds for the downtrodden. There is more:

The White House has also enlisted the ABA to launch a toll-free hotline number at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help homeowners with foreclosure issues, as well as a separate ABA toll free number to help veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs, too. An ABA release notes that its new toll-free line at the Labor Dept. will help workers who may be part-time or independent contractors in the agricultural, construction, or hotel industries.

Already, the Department of Labor has more attorneys than any other department besides the Department of Justice, sources note.

There, honey, don’t you feel sad. Uncle Sugar’s got a guy who knows some guys who can fix your problem. I’ve got his number right here.