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Making Rights Real: How the Whistleblower Enforcement Model Can Address The Crisis in Labor Rights Enforcement

Published By

Center for Popular Democracy

    This report advocates for the broad implementation of state and local Whistleblower Enforcement policies in labor law that expand the reach of public enforcement agencies and allow affected workers, whistleblowers, and community-based organizations to take legal action on behalf of the state against employers who violate the law. These policies augment the public enforcement of existing workplace standards, holding corporations accountable for labor law infringements and imposing substantial penalties on offenders. Critically, these penalties deter violations and serve as an untapped revenue source for enhancing the capacity of public sector enforcement agencies, including additional staffing and enforcement resources.

    Adopting and implementing these policy recommendations would go a long way in strengthening labor law enforcement, creating a culture of compliance, and protecting the rights of the nation’s most vulnerable workers.


    This report was written and researched by Evan Karl (Public Policy Fellow, CPD) with research support and review by Marc Rodrigues (CPD) and Francisco Diez (CPD). Graphic and visual design by Arom Gaang. We thank Hugh Baran of Kakalec Law LLC, Rachel Deutsch of the California Coalition for Worker Power, Terri Gerstein of the Harvard Law School Center for Labor and a Just Economy, Margaret Poydock of the Economic Policy Institute, and Paul Sonn of the National Employment Law Project for additional review of and input on this report. Thank you to the following CPD Network affiliates and their members who shared the stories and testimonies featured in this report: Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina Minnesota (COPAL MN); Make the Road New York; and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN).