Malfunctioning elevators aren’t getting follow-up inspections, and labor inspectors didn’t check in on companies who have gotten in trouble in the past to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws, according to a financial audit from N.C. State Auditor Beth Wood’s office.
The audit  released Thursday by Wood’s office found that at the N.C. Department of Labor:
- Only 3 percent of elevators found to be in violation of safety rules in 2012 had follow-up inspections
- Penalties for elevator violations are nominal and rarely imposed
- No follow-up reviews were conducted for 11 employers that violated wage and hour laws
The N.C. Department of Labor is headed by Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, whose picture hangs in every elevator in the state as part of the annual inspection notice.
The department is updating computer software to better track labor investigators work and ensure that follow-up reviews are done at both divisions, according to the agency’s response in the audit.
Dolores Quesenberry, the labor department spokeswoman, also said that the public was not endangered in the case of the elevators. Any serious problems where public safety was at risk resulted in the elevators being shut down, she said.
The labor department’s wage and hour division, which is tasked with making sure employers pay proper wages, didn’t conduct follow-up investigation for all 11 of the compliance agreements reviewed by auditors.
“First, there is no assurance the business actually corrected these violations,” wrote auditors. “Secondly, by not verifying compliance, the Wage Bureau cannot assess penalties meant to force compliance.”