The State of California is one of the many states in the U.S. that are both protective of employees and strict on employers. On one hand, employees are entitled to their rights of fair compensation, as well as a workplace that is free from discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. On the other hand, employers must make sure that they comply with the state and federal laws on employment and labor. In a lot of ways, they must, at all cost, avoid committing acts in employment that are considered as discriminatory in nature. In addition, it is their responsibility to ensure and that they keep their workers safe by imposing safety regulations. In case of workplace injury, employers must ensure that they provide affected employees the needed financial assistance and benefits.
Employer responsibilities and employee protections are administered and enforced by a lot of state agencies in California, including the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). What the agency basically does is to protect, as well as improve, the health, safety, and economic well-being of wage earners in the state. Not only that, but the agency also makes sure that employers in the state are able to comply with the state’s employment and labor laws.
About the California DIR
Established in 1927, the California DIR’s role is to improve working conditions of the wage earners, as well as provide opportunities to make employment in the state as profitable as possible. Also, the agency is one of the many state entities that administer and enforce labor laws concerning California minimum wage, hours and breaks, and overtime payments, as well as employment laws that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in employment. DIR is also responsible for providing apprenticeship training programs, as well as implement laws that would ensure the safety and health of employees in the workplace and help provide medical care and other benefits for those who are injured while working.
The Agency’s Divisions
The California DIR has four divisions, and they are enumerated below.
- Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Also called the Labor Commissioner’s Office, its main task is to pass judgment on employees’ wage claims, as well as oversee investigations regarding workplace discrimination complaints, and enforce various statutes stipulated in the Labor Code and orders from the Industrial Welfare Commission. If an employer discriminates against an employee, for example, then the latter can file a complaint with the DLSE.
- Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). This division provides health and safety protections for workers, as well as promote public safety on various public equipment such as boilers, tanks, elevators, and the like. It enforces safety regulations that employers in the state must strictly adhere to for the benefit of their employees.
- Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). This division oversees claims for workers’ compensation filed by injured workers, providing services on both the administrative and judicial levels when it comes to resolving employer-employee disputes with regard to benefits. Its mission is to lessen the bad impact of work-related injuries among employees and employers in the state.
- Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS). This division establishes and provides people in California the opportunity to obtain the skills needed for their employment. It also coordinates with employers in ensuring that the state’s economy is strengthened by providing them with a skilled and experienced workforce.
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