California Labor Commissioner Focusing on Scofflaws, Not Those That Comply
Since being appointed in 2011, California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has been focusing on returning the agency to its most fundamental purpose: protecting minimum wage workers and businesses that are following the law, and creating an overall culture of compliance.
Su cited two other achievements, improved targeting of violators and protecting law-abiding businesses from indiscriminate investigations, in a labor and employment roundtable discussion at the California Chamber of Commerce on March 27.
The Labor Commissioner’s office is part of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Su pointed out that the division is doing a better job of targeting violators since her appointment. In 2012, the Labor Commissioner’s office had the highest rate of civil penalty citations (80 percent) in the past decade (compared to an average citation rate of only 48 percent from 2002 to 2010).
“We don’t ever want to do an inspection of an employer who’s playing by the rules,” Commissioner Su said. “It’s not good for them, it’s not good for the state, it’s not good for the taxpayers and it doesn’t make any sense.”
To illustrate her point, Commissioner Su explained that her agency has discontinued random sweeps of workplaces. “Our measure of success is not the number of inspections that we do, but the number of violations that we find and the amount of compliance by which we can increase among the employer community.”
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