There is an on-going trend by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to leverage popular technology to increase public and consumer awareness of the laws and regulations it enforces. Indeed, the DOL is continually exploring creative ways to share information with the public using the fastest and most-wide reaching means available. Through technology, the DOL is intentionally providing employees and consumers with enforcement data about companies, particularly hotels and restaurants, so that they can make informed employment and patronage decisions.
In July 2011 the DOL launched an “informAction” Smartphone application (“app”) challenge. Third-party developers were asked to develop an innovative iPhone/iPad app using compliance and inspection data on hotels, motels, restaurants and retail stores from the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The DOL sought an app that would empower workers and consumers to make educated decisions about what hotels, motels, restaurants, and retail stores to seek employment from and to frequent.