|Oakland—The Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), a coalition of government agencies under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations that combats the underground economy, has produced new educational materials to inform workers of their rights and help employers understand their responsibilities.
The booklet “All Workers Have Rights in California” is now online in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. It covers such topics as minimum wage and overtime, rest and meal breaks, safety and health on the job, and benefits for those injured or unemployed.
For employers, “An Overview for Employers” provides information about what a LETF inspection entails. There are also brochures specifically for construction and restaurants to help those businesses understand and follow labor, licensing and payroll tax laws.
“Work-related laws are on the books to foster a fair and equitable California economy— one where businesses compete on a level playing field and employee rights are protected. These new educational tools will help us reach more employers and workers on workplace rights and responsibilities,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). DIR divisions Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner’s Office are lead actors in the LETF coalition, which includes multiple partners from State and local government agencies.
LETF was created in 2012 to ensure safe working conditions and proper payment of wages for workers, create an environment where legitimate businesses can thrive, and support the collection of all California taxes, fees, and penalties due from employers. During its first three years, LETF found consistently high rates of non-compliance, with over 80 percent of inspections resulting in penalties. In the first quarter of 2015, 45 percent of businesses inspected were found to be out of compliance with all inspecting partners. These results reflect the program’s strategy to target enforcement on businesses that are identified for inspection using refined data matching techniques. This approach ensures resources are used to deter noncompliance and level the playing field for all businesses.
“Education and enforcement are essential in fighting the underground economy,” said Dominic Forrest, Chief of the Labor Enforcement Task Force. “Having materials available in multiple languages will help further understanding of California laws.”
An example of LEFT enforcement occurred in March, when the task force inspected Abel & Bros. Custom Iron Works in San Marcos. The Labor Commissioner cited the company $226,840 for not providing seven employees with workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as well as cash pay violations including failure to provide pay stubs and keep accurate time records. Cal/OSHA issued $24,800 in penalties for safety hazards, including two serious violations for the lack of guards on a foot-operated air hammer and missing hood guards on two circular metal-cutting saws.
Multi-agency joint enforcement produces significant results, as detailed in a 2015 report to the legislature. LETF focuses on high-risk industries known to frequently abuse the rights of low wage workers such as car wash, restaurant, manufacturing, roofing, construction, agricultural and auto repair businesses. For a complete list of LETF partner agencies, and to learn more about the underground economy please visit the LETF home page.
Leads on underground employers and reports of labor law violations can be submitted online through LETF’s Online Referral Form, by emailing the information to LETF@dir.ca.gov, or by calling LETF toll-free at 1-855-297-5322.
California DIR News Release: [06/23/2015]