Sunday, July 14, 2013

Labor Dept. App Contest: Identify Businesses Who Treat 'Their Workers Fairly and Lawfully'

    As the Department of Labor (DOL) celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act this year, the DOL is celebrating by sponsoring a Smartphone app contest to help consumers identify businesses who treat "their workers fairly and lawfully."  The DOL requests [emphasis added] that contestants
develop a smartphone application that will transform the way the public is able to use departmental enforcement data.  By providing consumers with information at their fingertips about which businesses have treated their workers fairly and lawfully, the creator of this application will help empower consumers to make informed choices about where to bring their business.
    According to the Labor Department, the finished product should integrate
the department's publicly available enforcement data with consumer ratings websites, geo-positioning Web tools, and other relevant data sets, such as those available from state health boards.
    Presumably the data incorporated into the app would consist only of past infractions for which the targeted businesses have already been cited and penalized.  The DOL seems to suggest the app could be used as something of a blacklist for job-seekers and other businesses:
The app could also prove a useful tool for job seekers and for companies that are deciding which firms they may want to do business with.  It could also help individuals get in touch with the Labor Department if they have any questions.
    The winner of the contest will be announced in November, and "the developer will meet with high-ranking government officials and private-sector entrepreneurs" during a complimentary trip to Washington D.C. for the awards ceremony.

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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