California Employment Law – Criminal Treatment of Employers
by Sue M. Bendavid
Picture this: The owner of a small company in Los Angeles is in an office, calmly tackling the challenges of day-to-day business needs, when all of a sudden a task force of officers enter wearing guns.
Sound like the latest episode of CSI or some other fictional, televised cop show? Think again.
This year, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, a/k/a the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), activated their own Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) to deal with misbehaving employers. And yes, they’ll be wearing guns.
In addition to the state’s civilian administrators, employers in California may now have to contend with armed peace officers who underwent and completed police academy training. The CIU will conduct investigations, inspections and arrests; file criminal charges; and serve subpoenas.
According to the Labor Commissioner’s Office, the CIU task force will particularly look for employers who:
- Violate Worker’s Compensation Laws
- Engage in theft of labor
- Pay wages with bounced checks or insufficient funds
- Employ minors in violation of labor guidelines
- Employ unlicensed farm labor contractors or garment manufacturers
- Take kickbacks on public projects
- Impede Labor Commissioner investigations
In addition, the CIU will train representatives of the DLSE to spot employers who may be guilty of any of the above activities.
Granted, a spokesperson for the DIR says they will look for employers who are engaged in “flagrant mistreatment of workers.” But the activation of such a task force serves as a good reminder for ALL employers:
Make sure you keep accurate time-keeping records, and never try to cheat the system. If you have questions about California Labor Law, or your employee policies, contact me immediately.
Sue M. Bendavid is the Chair of our Employment Practice Group. You may reach her via e-mail: email@example.com.