Improving the working conditions of wage earners, as well as the advancement of opportunities that would help boost profitability of employment in California is the primary aim of the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR). Its mission is to make sure that those who earn wages are protected, especially in terms of their health, safety, and overall economic well-being. It also strives to help employers comply with the various statutes and regulations concerning employment and labor laws in the state.
As a state agency that focuses on the overall employment and labor affairs in California, the CDIR enforces employment and labor laws that govern minimum wage, overtime, hours and breaks, and employment discrimination and harassment, among others. Actually, the agency has one of the four divisions that tackle these, and that is the California Labor Commission, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
California Labor Commission’s Office and Its Duties
The office of the Labor Commissioner in California was established under the CDIR to adjudicate, or pass judgment on wage claims, as well as head investigations of complaints of discrimination and work complaints, and impose the statutes of the state’s Labor Code and the orders from the Industrial Welfare Commission.
One of the services that the Labor Commissioner’s Office is to process workers’ wage claims and reports of labor law violations, retaliation, discrimination and harassment. Workers may file their reports with the office’s Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE) if their employers commit any of the following:
- Failure to pay minimum wage and overtime, failure to provide meal and/or rest periods, reimbursement for uniforms, record keeping of payroll, and cash shortages in violation of the orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission
- Violation of the state’s child labor laws
- Violation of the laws and regulations with regard to farm labor contractors
- Failure to provide a female employee ample time or location to express milk
- Failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance
Likewise, workers, as well as job applicants, may file a retaliation or discrimination complaint with the office if they believe they have been wrongfully terminated, or subjected to any adverse employment action that violates any law under the authority of the labor commissioner. These include various issues such as the following:
Discrimination or retaliation against a worker who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- Discrimination or retaliation against a worker who took time off to serve as a member of a jury, or appeared as a witness in a court hearing.
- Wage loss due to failure to hire, as well as the demotion, suspension, or termination of one’s employment because of engaging in any legal conduct done outside of the employer’s premises during nonworking hours.
- Discrimination or retaliation against a worker who uses his or her right to take a leave of absence from work to attend to a sick child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child of the domestic partner.
Any worker who may face such work-related inconveniences that violate his or her employer’s compliance with the Labor Code and other labor statutes and regulations may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. Alternately, he or she may seek legal assistance from labor commission attorneys.