For years, the Labor Department has made a practice of issuing sternly worded news releases calling out companies deemed by its enforcement staff to have violated the law, including rules governing discrimination, worker safety, the minimum wage and overtime.
But the department’s appetite for using that spotlight appears to have waned.
In a Sept. 24 memo, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella instructed the heads of the department’s enforcement agencies that “absent extraordinary circumstances,” the findings of their agencies “generally should not be the basis” for news releases.
Mr. Pizzella argued that such releases tend to linger prominently in search results about companies and can prove misleading if a citation or other enforcement action “is ultimately found to be unjustified.” He instructed officials responsible for enforcing labor and employment laws to generally refrain from issuing releases until after a matter has reached its conclusion — for example, once a court has issued a judgment or an employer has reached a settlement with the department.
True justice is keeping the public ignorant of companies who violate the law.