The last 2 years we have seen a lot of activity in our labor laws. It is hard to keep up with them all and hard to keep up with the ones that are specific to your company and/or your industry. Three of the gatekeepers are the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the IRS and the EDD.
In May 2013 Julie A Su – Labor Commissioner – issued a report on the state of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Ms. Su states in her report that she embraced the opportunity to promote the health and vitality of our state’s economy by protecting working people and providing a level playing field for honest employers to prosper and thrive. To that end, she set several priorities. Following are some examples of the areas she is concerned with and the comments she makes regarding each goal:
Create a business-friendly environment for law-abiding employers.
“My goal was to increase compliance with labor laws, not to punish employers who abide by the law. In 2012, the ratio of civil penalty citations to inspections was the highest in a decade, proving that better targeting identifies violators and avoids indiscriminately sweeping in those already in Compliance.”
Protect communities against criminal activity by unscrupulous employers.
“I established a Criminal Investigation Unit comprised of sworn peace officers with the power to conduct criminal investigations, arrest employers for violating the state’s penal code and labor laws, and refer criminal cases to the district attorney’s office. Since its formation, we have filed 10 felony theft of labor cases seeking over $655,000 in stolen wages.
Note: Stolen wages is a term used – in part – to describe failures to pay full amount of wages due and failure to pay overtime.
Another area where penalty can be large is the failure to pay wages as required; the employer is subject to the assessment of a penalty of $50 per employee, per each failure.
If you do not have a process for keeping up with labor laws let me recommend that you visit the www.dir.ca.gov website and be sure to read the letters and notices these organizations send you. Those of you that outsource your payroll can usually get updates regarding labor laws from your provider.
Ms Su’s report in its entirety can be found at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Publications/DLSE_Report2013.pdf