Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, US Department of Labor partner to protect workers’ rights

Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit. (Eli Savit)

ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to formally establish a partnership to enforce workers’ rights, share information and conduct joint outreach efforts and investigations.

“This first-of-its-kind agreement between the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and a Michigan prosecutor’s office will facilitate coordination on investigations by federal and Washtenaw County agents as they collaborate and determine the need for local or federal enforcement actions,” Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Michael Lazzeri in Chicago said in a release.

“Our partnership will allow our organizations to protect workers in the county better and hold employers who violate workers’ rights responsible.”

The two offices will now be able to share informational publications to the community, conduct joint outreach presentations, cross-train investigators and staff annually and allow comparisons of overlapping jurisdictions and legal provisions, according to a release.

“The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office is dedicated to pursuing justice when people are harmed, and I am excited that we have made further progress in fighting for worker protection. This MOU provides another tool to work with federal partners to hold accountable those who have imposed unlawful financial or economic harm to their employees,” Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit said in a release.

Savit’s office formed an Economic Justice Unit in 2021 to focus specifically on workers’ rights, economic harms, labor-trafficking and consumer protection.

Workers in Washtenaw County can report instances of economic harm here.

The Wage and Hour Division has a confidential hotline for workers with questions and its staff can speak more than 200 languages. To contact the division, call 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Workers can also use the division’s search tool to see if they are owed back wages the division collects.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.