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City of Columbus and US Department of Labor Sign Historic Agreement to Prevent Wage Theft

For Immediate Release

February 1, 2023

{COLUMBUS, OH} -- Today, Council President Pro Tem Rob Dorans joined the Columbus Wage Theft Prevention and Enforcement Commission and the US Department of Labor to sign a memorandum of understanding to protect workers in the City of Columbus. The MOU promotes greater coordination and improves compliance with all federal, state, and city labor laws and regulations. Wage theft and payroll fraud can result in a worker earning less than they should have or taking on financial responsibilities that should rightfully have been borne by the employer.

"I am proud that Columbus is once again leading the nation in the fight against wage theft,” says President Pro Tem Dorans. “This historic cooperation between the City and the federal Department of Labor ensures we are able to better protect workers and make sure they're fully paid what they're rightfully owed."

In September 2020, Council passed an ordinance to create the Wage Theft and Prevention Commission to ensure that workers in the City, particularly those working on City-supported projects, contracts, and for tax-abated entities, are paid in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws. At that time, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office had estimated that more than 90,000 Ohio workers were illegally misclassified as independent contractors. The misclassification cost Ohio state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in lost unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation premiums, and state and local income taxes. Policy Matters Ohio estimates Ohio employers steal from 213,000 workers a year by paying them less than the state or federal minimum wage.

"As Chairwoman of the Wage Theft Commission for the City of Columbus I am proud to sign our memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division,” says Chairwoman Samantha Trueblood. This MOU signifies important strides that public offices are making to work together in order to better serve working people in the city of Columbus." 

This agreement is the first of its kind between the Department and a municipality. It aims to bring violators into compliance and ensure victims are compensated fairly. The parties will accomplish this through enforcement activities, staff cross-training, and public education. The MOU also gives the City of Columbus access to the Department of Labor’s full public enforcement database and allows us to work with the Department’s team to make the best use of the data.

“The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division looks forward to collaborating with the City of Columbus's Wage Theft Commission,” says US Dept. of Labor District Director Matthew Utley. “This partnership will allow our organizations to better serve the people of Ohio by strengthening our outreach and enforcement efforts.” 

If you believe you have been a victim of or witnessed wage theft or payroll fraud, you can submit a complaint at