Attorneys general have a wide range of enforcement responsibilities in the area of labor and employment law. However, their roles vary greatly based on the enforcement authority of the office, and the role of agencies in the state.
States’ Role in Labor and Employment
Many states have a variety of labor and employment laws that complement federal laws on topics such as:
- Minimum wage
- On-time wage payments
- Unemployment insurance
- Sick leave
- Anti-discrimination laws
In addition to creating and enforcing laws, it is common for states to create a separate labor department or similar agency designated to handle and respond to individual labor and employment complaints.
Some states have more limited labor laws or give less enforcement authority to the attorney general’s office, leaving virtually all labor and employment matters in the hands of separate labor agencies. Currently, eight states plus the District of Columbia have established dedicated units dealing with labor and employment issues.
Attorney General Role in Labor and Employment
Although their role can vary greatly from state to state, attorney general offices can play the following roles in labor and employment issues:
- Enforce federal and state law when authorized.
- Advise the state labor enforcement agencies, enforce their orders, or prompt global action when necessary.
- Provide information and advice about the status of employment and bargaining rights for public employees.
One labor-related area in which virtually all offices are involved is anti-trafficking. Attorney general offices work to fight human trafficking in the following ways:
Learn more about the role of attorneys general offices in combatting human trafficking.