The California Labor Commissioner Launches New On-Line Reporting System

On August 31st, the Department of Industrial Relations (Labor Commissioner) launched an online system allowing anyone to report a business’ alleged labor law violations. According to the Labor Commissioner’s Press Release, the new online reporting system is simple to use and enables the Labor Commissioner to receive real time leads on businesses that are breaking labor laws so that it’s Bureau of Field Enforcement can investigate and take enforcement action.

The Report of Labor Law Violations (“Report”) can be completed and submitted on-line or it can be printed out for completion and either mailed in or hand-delivered to the Labor Commissioner’s Office.  The Report asks a number of questions about: 1) the identity and location of the employer being reported; 2) the number of employees; 3) the employers’ business hours; 4) whether the employer has a union contract; 5) the designated workweek and normal/standard work schedule; 6) when meal and rest periods are scheduled; 7) whether the employer keeps time records; 8) the employer’s pay day and method of payment; 9) how employees are paid (hourly, salary, piece rate, etc.); and 10) what languages are spoken by employees at the company.Beth-West-15_web

The Types of Suspected Violations that Can Be Reported Include:

  • Failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance
  • Child labor violations
  • Minimum wage violations
  • Overtime violations
  • Pay stub violations
  • Meal period violations
  • Rest break violations
  • Pay date violations
  • Business expense reimbursement violations
  • Recordkeeping violations
  • Other wage violations (e.g. failure to pay at a contract rate or pay premium pay for missed meal or rest breaks)
  • Mandatory posting violations
  • Misclassification violations (independent contractor v. employee, exempt v. non-exempt)
  • Licensing/registration violations
  • Lactation accommodation violations
  • Other violations

The Report seeks the name and contact information of the individual making the report but asks expressly if the individual wants his or her name to be used in the investigation or if he or she wants the Labor Commissioner to keep his or her name and contact information confidential.  As such, if a Report is made against a company for alleged labor law violations, it is possible that the company may never know who made it.

Takeaway:  Employers should regularly audit their wage and hour practices to ensure they are in compliance with California’s very strict – and very technical – wage and hour laws.  With the Labor Commissioner’s new on-line reporting system, it will be easier for current or former employees to report what they perceive to be systemic wage and hour violations, and for the Labor Commissioner’s Bureau of Field Enforcement to have more of what the Labor Commissioner refers to as “real time leads” on businesses that may be violating the law.

The attorneys in Weintraub Tobin’s Labor & Employment Group are experienced in assisting employers in conducting wage and hour audits.  Please feel free to contact any one of them if you need assistance with your audit.