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The challenges facing the major agencies in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that regulate conditions in the workplace are daunting. Public policies on health and safety, discrimination, and basic labor conditions cover millions of workers, and have to be implemented in hundreds of thousands of disparate workplaces in differing geographic settings. Conditions within those workplaces vary enormously - even within a single industry - and employers often face incentives to make those conditions as opaque as possible. Workers in many of the industries with the highest levels of noncompliance are often the most reluctant to trigger investigations through complaints due to their immigration status, lack of knowledge of rights, or fears about employment security.
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