Aubry Elected NAGLO Chair


DIR Director Lloyd W. Aubry Jr. has been elected chair of the National Association of Government Labor Organizations (NAGLO), which consists of the state labor directors from all 50 states.

Aubry assumes this position at a time of change and transition: a new Congress has taken office and many new Governors were elected at the state level in last November's elections. Many new state labor directors have been appointed nationwide, and Congress has refocused its attention on labor and employment matters.

Congress is already considering a number of significant pieces of labor and employment legislation. Among the issues under consideration are reform of job training programs, limits on imposing new regulations, permitting establishment of labor-management committees, and reform or re-peal of prevailing wage requirements.

Historically, NAGLO has been a conduit for maintaining contact between the U.S. Department of Labor and state labor departments.

From time to time, NAGLO has also taken positions on national labor issues--particularly those affecting the states-- and presented them in testimony to Congress.

As chair of NAGLO, Aubry automatically has a seat on the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship (FCA), an advisory group to the U.S. Secretary of Labor on apprenticeship. In the fall, the FCA is planning to sponsor a National Apprenticeship Convention in Washington, D.C.

Daily Overtime Reform Introduced


The position of the Department of Industrial Relations is that California's current daily overtime requirements are overly restrictive, thus leading DIR to sponsor Assembly Bill 398 (Aguiar).

This proposed legislation would eliminate daily overtime over eight hours in a day. Instead, California would conform with federal law, which requires payment of overtime after 40 hours of work in a week.

AB 398 would write into law a practice tested last year during the Northridge earthquake recovery period when several main highways suffering damage were closed for months of repairs. To alleviate the resulting traffic congestion, commuters were encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation or to work flexible hours. For example, working four ten-hour days in a week rather than the standard five eight-hour days spared one day of commuting.

Since state law requires payment of overtime on a daily basis after eight hours, employers would have been financially penalized for allowing the more convenient work arrangement. So that flexible schedules would be possible during the earthquake emergency, Governor Pete Wilson issued Executive Order W-75-94, which suspended daily overtime requirements in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

In these five counties many employees had been commuting to work in the areas where highways were closed. Later, as highways reopened, the Governor narrowed the scope of the Executive Order to Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Last September, noting the rapid reconstruction of damaged highways, the Governor withdrew completely the suspension of daily overtime. At the time, the Governor noted that many employers and employees had reported that they appreciated the added flexibility provided without the restriction of daily overtime.

In a letter to the Legislature, the Governor urged legislative repeal of daily overtime. "It has become clear that the suspension of the daily overtime requirements for work over eight hours in one day is, in fact, of great advantage to California businesses," the Governor wrote.

"Moreover, the opportunity to allow employees the option of flexible weekly work schedules, while still maintaining overtime requirements for the traditional 40-hour work week, has proved extremely advantageous to employers and employees alike.

"I have received a great deal of sup-port for the permanent repeal of these regulations, and I ask that in the next session you send to my desk legislation to enact these changes. In doing so, you will not only bring California into conformity with the 46 states which do not have daily overtime requirements, you will also allow California businesses to enhance their economic competitiveness and flexibility."

California is virtually unique in requiring payment of daily overtime after eight hours. Most states conform with federal law. Other than California, only Alaska, Nevada and Wyoming require daily overtime--none of these states are as stringent as California in their overtime requirements.

Alaska's requirements are similar to California's, except that Alaska does not require double time after 12 hours. Nevada requires daily overtime only when businesses gross less than $250,000 or when employees' wages are less than $6.38 an hour. Wyoming mandates daily overtime only for businesses not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Currently, the Labor Code declares that eight hours of labor shall constitute a day's work, and wage orders adopted by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) require payment of daily overtime after eight hours of work in a day.

AB 398 would amend these requirements by prohibiting the IWC from adopting any overtime standard that differs from federal law. Standards set by the FLSA would apply in California, with overtime pay required after 40 hours in a week. For construction workers on public works projects, however, daily overtime pay would continue after eight hours in a day, as required under the state constitution.

DIR has taken the position that AB 398 offers several benefits for both employers and employees. By removing what in essence constitutes a financial penalty for scheduling flexible hours, AB 398 will make it easier for employers and employees to set flexible arrangements.

Flexible work schedules will help alleviate commuter congestion by reducing or staggering commutes-- thereby helping employers and local governments meet trip reduction requirements mandated by air quality districts and the Clean Air Act.

Flexible schedules enable employees to schedule their work more conveniently around family obligations. For instance, the current daily overtime arrangement hinders an employee from taking time off one day for a child's medical appointment and working additional time the following day to balance out total work hours. Either the employee must take leave or the employer must pay daily overtime for the longer day.

AB 398 will make the establishment of flexible work hours more convenient, because it will allow employers and individual employees to set such alternative schedules.

Presently, employees in the manufacturing industry and nursing profession may establish alternative schedules of 10-hour days in manufacturing and 12-hour days in nursing. To do so, two-thirds of the employees must agree to the alternative schedule by secret ballot. If the proposal fails, no employee may participate in an alternative schedule.

Rather than confront this complicated administrative procedure, many eligible firms have opted to continue paying daily overtime.

Many companies with facilities in more than one state have noted the added burdens regarding their California employees because scheduling and wage payment involve the daily overtime requirement--a consideration not faced in almost all other states.

Manufacturers with plants in more than one state report shifting added production away from California rather than face the costs and burdens of the daily overtime requirements.

It is DIR's view that the repeal of daily overtime would enhance California's economic competitiveness.

The position of the Department of Industrial Relations is that California's current daily overtime requirements are overly restrictive, thus leading DIR to sponsor Assembly Bill 398 (Aguiar).

This proposed legislation would eliminate daily overtime over eight hours in a day. Instead, California would conform with federal law, which requires payment of overtime after 40 hours of work in a week.

AB 398 would write into law a practice tested last year during the Northridge earthquake recovery period when several main highways suffering damage were closed for months of repairs. To alleviate the resulting traffic congestion, commuters were encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation or to work flexible hours. For example, working four ten-hour days in a week rather than the standard five eight-hour days spared one day of commuting.

Since state law requires payment of overtime on a daily basis after eight hours, employers would have been financially penalized for allowing the more convenient work arrangement. So that flexible schedules would be possible during the earthquake emergency, Governor Pete Wilson issued Executive Order W-75-94, which suspended daily overtime requirements in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

In these five counties many employees had been commuting to work in the areas where highways were closed. Later, as highways reopened, the Governor narrowed the scope of the Executive Order to Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Last September, noting the rapid reconstruction of damaged highways, the Governor withdrew completely the suspension of daily overtime. At the time, the Governor noted that many employers and employees had reported that they appreciated the added flexibility provided without the restriction of daily overtime.

In a letter to the Legislature, the Governor urged legislative repeal of daily overtime. "It has become clear that the suspension of the daily overtime requirements for work over eight hours in one day is, in fact, of great advantage to California businesses," the Governor wrote.

"Moreover, the opportunity to allow employees the option of flexible weekly work schedules, while still maintaining overtime requirements for the traditional 40-hour work week, has proved extremely advantageous to employers and employees alike.

"I have received a great deal of sup-port for the permanent repeal of these regulations, and I ask that in the next session you send to my desk legislation to enact these changes. In doing so, you will not only bring California into conformity with the 46 states which do not have daily overtime requirements, you will also allow California businesses to enhance their economic competitiveness and flexibility."

California is virtually unique in requiring payment of daily overtime after eight hours. Most states conform with federal law. Other than California, only Alaska, Nevada and Wyoming require daily overtime--none of these states are as stringent as California in their overtime requirements.

Alaska's requirements are similar to California's, except that Alaska does not require double time after 12 hours. Nevada requires daily overtime only when businesses gross less than $250,000 or when employees' wages are less than $6.38 an hour. Wyoming mandates daily overtime only for businesses not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Currently, the Labor Code declares that eight hours of labor shall constitute a day's work, and wage orders adopted by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) require payment of daily overtime after eight hours of work in a day.

AB 398 would amend these requirements by prohibiting the IWC from adopting any overtime standard that differs from federal law. Standards set by the FLSA would apply in California, with overtime pay required after 40 hours in a week. For construction workers on public works projects, however, daily overtime pay would continue after eight hours in a day, as required under the state constitution.

DIR has taken the position that AB 398 offers several benefits for both employers and employees. By removing what in essence constitutes a financial penalty for scheduling flexible hours, AB 398 will make it easier for employers and employees to set flexible arrangements.

Flexible work schedules will help alleviate commuter congestion by reducing or staggering commutes-- thereby helping employers and local governments meet trip reduction requirements mandated by air quality districts and the Clean Air Act.

Flexible schedules enable employees to schedule their work more conveniently around family obligations. For instance, the current daily overtime arrangement hinders an employee from taking time off one day for a child's medical appointment and working additional time the following day to balance out total work hours. Either the employee must take leave or the employer must pay daily overtime for the longer day.

AB 398 will make the establishment of flexible work hours more convenient, because it will allow employers and individual employees to set such alternative schedules.

Presently, employees in the manufacturing industry and nursing profession may establish alternative schedules of 10-hour days in manufacturing and 12-hour days in nursing. To do so, two-thirds of the employees must agree to the alternative schedule by secret ballot. If the proposal fails, no employee may participate in an alternative schedule.

Rather than confront this complicated administrative procedure, many eligible firms have opted to continue paying daily overtime.

Many companies with facilities in more than one state have noted the added burdens regarding their California employees because scheduling and wage payment involve the daily overtime requirement--a consideration not faced in almost all other states.

Manufacturers with plants in more than one state report shifting added production away from California rather than face the costs and burdens of the daily overtime requirements.

It is DIR's view that the repeal of daily overtime would enhance California's economic competitiveness.

DIR Accomplishments Book Available


DIR has compiled a book that details its major initiatives and accomplishments under the first Wilson administration, while looking toward the department's next initiatives.

The accomplishments book includes a message from Director Lloyd W. Aubry Jr. and reviews:

Copies of California Department of Industrial Relations: With a Record of Accomplishments, Looking Forwardare available by writing to:

DIR Office of the Director
P.O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142-0603
Attn: Accomplishments Book

Challenge to Prevailing Wage Formula Rebuffed


A San Francisco Superior Court judge has refused to block implementation of DIR's prevailing wage formula with regard to job targeting programs (JTPs) in the construction industry.

The new prevailing wage rates, as modified by the impact of JTPs, became effective March 3.

The case, Local Union No. 11, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, et al. v. Aubry, challenged whether money deducted from wages as union dues and set aside to subsidize wages on certain targeted construction projects should be included as wages when determining the prevailing wage.

After an investigation, DIR determined that the deductions should not be considered wages for purposes of calculating the prevailing wage.

Six IBEW locals sued, but Superior Court Judge Stuart Pollak ruled that the Director of Industrial Relations had correctly deducted the job targeting portion of the dues. Like prevailing wage regulations and formulas, the JTP concept can be difficult to understand.

In the 1994 case, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO v. Reich, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia described JTPs as "union-initiated programs designed to maintain or improve the unions' share of certain construction markets by subsidizing the wage costs of union employers who bid on certain projects ... [A]n employer takes out of its employees' wages payroll deductions authorized by the membership of the union, which are then paid into a union-managed fund. The union unilaterally decides what jobs to target and uses this fund to provide a wage subsidy either to the contractor or directly to the employees on the targeted job. Deductions from employees' pay to fund JTPs and the provision of JTP subsidies to union contractors occur on both public and private construction projects."

The intent of the wage subsidy paid with JTP monies is to help contractors with collective bargaining agreements make more competitive bids against non-union contractors, which typically pay lower wages.

DIR's administrative involvement with JTPs began in 1992. An association of non-union contractors complained to DIR about JTPs run by IBEW locals and demanded an investigation.

The association asserted that the job targeting schemes constituted a "kickback." It also alleged that union contractors who accept JTP funds on public works projects were submitting false certified payrolls to DIR, since the full amount reported as wages paid by the employer to employees was not actually received by those employees.

To determine the prevailing wage for job classifications in a geographic region, DIR relies on applicable collective bargaining agreements, federal Davis-Bacon rates or wage surveys. The complaint stated that JTPs distorted prevailing wage determinations, since the wage actually received by the employee was less than that required under the collective bargaining agreement.

DIR began an investigation after receiving the complaint, and requested submissions from interested parties. As a result, the Director determined that existing law does not bar unions from operating JTPs and funding them through an after-tax deduction from members' wages for union dues. The Director added that federal labor law could well preempt any state regulation of the union dues structures that are used to fund JTPs.

The Director also concluded that JTPs misstated the wage rate actually paid to employees under collective bar-gaining agreements and, hence, the rate stated in such collective bargaining agreements did not represent the "rates actually prevailing in the locality," as required by Labor Code Section 1773.

In December the Director announced DIR's approach to address JTPs in determining prevailing wage rates: DIR would reduce the hourly wage for determining the prevailing wage by the percentage deducted from that hourly wage for JTPs. As for the actual amount deducted, the Director stated, "If any party objects to the percentage used by the Department in calculating the prevailing wage determination, that party bears the burden of producing accurate documentary material or records."

Thus, as of March 3 DIR has deducted the JTP deductions from wages and used the resulting lower figure to set the prevailing wage.

The decision on JTPs comes at a time when the prevailing wage is under increasing scrutiny on national and state levels. In Washington, Congress has indicated it may revise or even eliminate federal Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements.

Last January in his budget message to the Legislature, Governor Pete Wilson called for an examination of the prevailing wage. Specifically, he said "the state must reconsider the requirement that bidders pay prevailing wage. Competition is about getting the best available service at the lowest cost. Artificial barriers to competition, including specified wage requirements, work against government efficiency and eliminate otherwise qualified providers--including minority- and women-owned businesses--from competing for state contracts."

The Administration is reviewing possible reforms to the prevailing wage, and several reform bills have been introduced in the Legislature.

California is not the only state to examine changes in prevailing wage requirements. In recent years several states have modified or even repealed prevailing wage requirements. And in his Reinventing Government plan, Vice President Al Gore recommended changes in the federal Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage structure.

Loss Control, Targeted Inspection Programs Operating


The significant workers' compensation reforms accomplished in 1993 brought two new programs into DIR's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH): Loss Control Certification, and Targeted Inspection and Consultation.

These two programs have a common objective: reduce the incidence of preventable occupational injuries and illnesses. In turn, a reduction in injury and illness rates reduces workers' compensation losses and premiums.

With the Loss Control Certification program, DOSH approves loss control consultation services offered by workers' compensation insurers. The re-forms require insurers writing workers' compensation insurance in California to provide loss control and consultation services that are certified by DIR.

The DOSH Loss Control Certification Unit certified insurers' annual plans last November. Insurers may choose to provide their loss control consultation services through another entity, as long as those services meet certification requirements.

At the time of issuance or renewal of a policy, an insurer must notify employers of the availability of its loss control consultation services, as well as provide a description of them. Insurers must provide the services to employers without charge. The insurer's services to individual employers depend on whether the insurer selects the employer for services during a year's annual plan.

For certification, an insurer's annual plan must include a selection methodology. One or more of the following factors must be used in establishing a selection methodology:

1) type and rate of injuries and illnesses,

2) number of workers' comp claims per payroll or premium dollars,

3) severity of workers' comp claims per payroll or premium dollar,

4) experience modification rating or other ways of comparing the employer's loss experience to that of similar employers,

5) data from the insurer's previous evaluations of the employer, or

6) Cal/OSHA citation history.

For employers identified for services, insurers must provide a comprehensive on-site evaluation, discussions with management, and a review of relevant records. These services are designed to identify factors related to the employer's workers' comp losses, including workplace hazards, first aid and post-injury response, effectiveness of training and communication, and adequacy of the employer's required Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Services must be provided to non-selected employers upon request.

The Loss Control Certification Unit is funded through assessments on the insurer, while the Targeted Inspection and Consultation program is funded through assessments levied against insureds with experience modification rates of 1.25 and greater, and private self-insured employers with an equivalent experience modification.

Since an experience modification of 1.00 is average, these employers have loss rates at least 25 percent higher than the average employer in their respective workers' compensation insurance classifications. Under the formula recently adopted by DIR, insured employers will pay 60 percent of the costs, with private self-insured employers paying the remainder. The allocation may change in future years.

The Targeted Inspection and Consultation Unit was created by workers' comp reforms to enable DOSH to identify employers in high-hazard industries with the highest incidence of preventable occupational injuries and illnesses and workers' compensation losses. These high-hazard employers must be given priority for compliance inspection, and for DOSH consultation services. In other words, this program involves targeting resources where problems have been identified.

Targeted employers have been identified through a frequency-based formula based on experience modification data from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau. Private and public self-insured targeted employers were identified through a severity-based formula developed by the Office of Self Insurance Plans and the California Self-Insurers Association.

Some employers identified by DOSH targeting have already received a letter. In December letters were sent to 104 self-insured employers. The targeted self-insureds were asked to con-tact the DOSH Consultation Service for assistance in reducing their losses.

In January Cal/OSHA sent another 50 letters to employers with the highest experience modification rates--between 5.85 and 2.20. Cal/OSHA plans to contact an additional 100 to 200 employers identified as high-hazard every 30 days.

The letters request these employers to provide seven items to DOSH: employer's analysis as to why losses have been high, a copy of the 1994 OSHA 200 log and summary, posted OSHA 200 log summary totals of losses for 1991-1993, information on the number of employees working and the number of hours they worked during each of the past four years, a copy of the employer's IIPP, a description of workplace activities that are the source of injuries and illnesses, and an action plan for reducing the injury and illness rate.

After a review of the documents, the high-hazard consultation service will contact the employer to provide consultation services, or see that the employer has requested and its own insurer has agreed to provide loss control services. High-hazard employers who respond are placed on a secondary inspection list, from which random inspections will be made.

Employers who do not respond, or do not cooperate with consultation activities, will be placed on a primary inspection list as required by law.

Discrimination Case Filings Increased Again in 1994


Following a pattern evident in recent years, the number of discrimination cases filed with the Labor Commissioner increased in 1994. For all of last year, the Labor Commissioner received 684 discrimination complaints.

The Labor Commissioner enforces 20 statutes prohibiting discrimination or retaliation against employees for engaging in certain protected activities.

Such activities include filing complaints against employers with the Labor Commissioner or Cal/OSHA, serving on jury duty, making a report to a government or law enforcement agency ("whistleblower"), disclosing the amount of his/her wages, or engaging in political activity.

The Labor Code also protects employees from gender-based wage discrimination, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

During 1994 the most commonly occurring discrimination complaint alleged a violation of Labor Code Section 98.6, which prohibits discrimination or retaliation for filing or intending to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner.

The section also protects employees who testify against their employers as a result of a claim filed with the Labor Commissioner. Nearly one-third or 224 discrimination complaints alleged this type of discrimination.

The second most common type of discrimination complaint concerned complaints involving unsafe working conditions and/or refusal to work under unsafe conditions. The Labor Commissioner received 163 such complaints.

Other common types of discrimination complaints were: sexual orientation--159, whistleblower--34, jury duty--21, discrimination for complaints involving child care facilities--19, and gender-based wage discrimination--17.

The sexual orientation category, which accounted for 23 percent of the discrimination complaints, is relatively new. It was added by Assembly Bill 2601, which Governor Pete Wilson signed in 1992. The law took effect January 1, 1993.

During 1993 the Labor Commissioner received 159 complaints alleging sexual orientation discrimination. California is one of only eight states with legal protection against sexual orientation employment discrimination.

In recent years the number of discrimination complaints has increased steadily. Last year 684 cases were received, compared to 658 cases opened in 1993 and 539 in 1992. During 1991, 389 discrimination complaints were filed, versus 330 cases in 1990. In 1989 the Labor Commissioner received 241 discrimination complaints.

The steady increase in complaints filed is attributable largely to greater awareness of this remedy to discrimination, as well as recognition by employees that the Labor Commissioner offers a quicker and less costly remedy than civil litigation.

Discrimination complaints are filed with the Labor Commissioner under an administrative procedure. This procedure was established under Labor Code Section 98.7, which took effect January 1, 1986. An employee must file a complaint within 30 days of the occurrence of alleged discrimination.

Complaints are assigned to trained discrimination complaint investigators, who conduct a field investigation that involves interviews and examination of relevant material evidence. The findings are reported to the Labor Commissioner, who either issues a decision or, in rare cases, remands the case for an investigative hearing. Many cases are settled or withdrawn before reaching the Labor Commissioner.

A decision issued by the Labor Commissioner may be appealed to the Director of Industrial Relations. Complainants who do not prevail retain the right to pursue legal action.

In 1994, 61 discrimination complaints reached the Labor Commissioner for decision. The Labor Commissioner found in favor of the complainant in 25 cases, and for the respondent in 36 cases. Three cases were ordered to a formal hearing and 77 complaints were settled between the parties before reaching the Labor Commissioner for decision.

In cases where the Labor Commissioner finds discrimination, four possible remedies are available under the Labor Code: a cease and desist order, an order to rehire or reinstate, reimbursement of lost wages, and requiring the employer to post notice. The Labor Commissioner cannot award punitive damages.

DIR Sponsors Bill for Poster Reduction


Many employers have complained about the number of workplace postings that by law must be on their walls. DIR has listened. If a new legislative bill sponsored by DIR is enacted, some relief will be on the way.

State law requires every employer in California to post an order adopted by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC). The IWC sets standards for wages, hours, and working conditions in California and issues these standards in 15 separate orders, some of which are lengthy in content.

Individual orders cover industries --such as manufacturing, public housekeeping, mercantile, transportation, amusement and recreation, agricultural--and professional, technical, mechanical, and clerical occupations.

Though many of the sections of the 15 orders are similar, each order has variations based on circumstances in the particular industry or occupation covered. Employers must post the applicable order in their businesses "where employees can read it easily."

The orders outline in detail the minimum labor standards, such as hours and days of work, minimum wages, meal and rest periods, and conditions in the workplace. Each order also includes a statement as to the basis upon which it is predicated.

The basis statement details the history of an order's provisions, arguments presented to the IWC, and the IWC's reasons for adopting a provision. For some industries, the statement covers three 9"x14" pages in small print. The basis statements are written in legalistic regulatory language that is difficult for employers and employees to understand.

By law, DIR must print and provide copies, and employers must post them.

In the interest of efficiency and making information easier to understand, DIR is sponsoring Assembly Bill 1961 by Assemblymember George House, vice chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.

This bill would reduce employer posting requirements by replacing the technical and detailed IWC posters with simple, straightforward one-page summaries. The summaries would include a brief description of the following requirements as they pertain to the occupation or industry in question: minimum wage, hours and days of work, reporting time, pay records, cash shortages and breakage, uniforms and equipment, meals and lodging, meal and rest periods, and seats.

They also would include information on how employers and employees can contact the Labor Commissioner's Office, how to obtain a copy of an order's full text, and any other information the IWC deems necessary.

AB 1961 would eliminate the lengthy statement as to the basis from each poster. The statement would be published in the California Regulatory Notice Register rather than included with each poster.

The proposed posting changes are consistent with federal posting requirements, which provide for a summary of wage orders and do not include a statement as to the basis in fine print. AB 1961 would reduce employer postings, make the postings easier to understand while clearly stating employees' rights, and reduce the cost of printing and distributing IWC posters.

Code of Judicial Conduct Proposed for DWC Referees


A proposed Workers' Compensation Code of Judicial Conduct, covering workers' compensation referees and enforcement regulations, has been set for public hearings later this spring.

Assembly Bill 1252, enacted in 1993, required DIR's Division of Workers' Compensation to craft and adopt regulations enforcing the requirements that workers' compensation referees follow the California Code of Judicial Conduct and not directly or indirectly engage in conduct contrary to that code.

As a result, Administrative Director Casey Young retained the Josephson Institute of Ethics to develop supplemental standards. Subjects covered by the proposed rules include the duty to report alleged misconduct, integrity of records, ex parte communications, socializing with workers' compensation practitioners, financial interest in educational programs, use of names in promotional materials, diligence, honesty, and decorum. If adopted, the Workers' Compensation Code of Judicial Conduct would be binding on all workers' compensation referees.

The proposed enforcement regulations include a new Workers' Compensation Ethics Advisory Committee. This panel would consist of eight members appointed by the DWC administrative director to receive and review complaints involving referees. It would consist of one referee from both Northern and Southern California, a presiding referee, a defense attorney, an applicant's attorney, and insurer, organized labor, and self-insured employer representatives.

After its review, the committee would forward meritorious complaints, depending on the nature of the complaint, to either the DWC administrative director or the local presiding referee with recommendations--then monitor the outcome.

The proposed standards and enforcement regulations have been set for public hearing on May 31 in Los Angeles and June 1 in San Francisco.

For additional information and copies of the proposed regulations and supplemental standards, please contact the Division of Workers' Compensation at (415) 703-3731--or write to DWC, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142-0603.

DWC Reorganizes Local Offices


In response to shifting workload demands, the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) will open a new office, close another office, and expand some offices in coming months.

In the Inland Empire, which has experienced dramatic population growth in the past decade, a new office will open in Riverside to reduce the caseload at both the San Bernardino and Anaheim offices. The office will be at 2727 Main Street, in the new state office building in Riverside. The Riverside office will have five workers' compensation referees and supporting staff, an Information and Assistance Officer, and a Disability Evaluation Consultant.

The Fresno and Stockton offices have also experienced rapid growth in caseload. DWC is working to secure additional space to expand these offices. When completed, both offices will have five workers' compensation referees.

The office in Agoura Hills will close this summer, and staff will relocate to the Van Nuys and Ventura offices.

1994 Field Enforcement Activity Reported,
Summary of Basic Requirements Available


The Labor Commissioner's Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE) enforces Labor Code regulations and Industrial Welfare Commission orders to ensure that minimum labor standards are met.

BOFE's enforcement jurisdiction includes child labor laws, ensuring that mandatory workers' compensation insurance coverage exists, audit of payroll records, minimum wage enforcement, and collection of unpaid wages, overtime, and prevailing wages. Enforcement actions include civil and criminal citations, and injunctive action in a court of law to preclude further violations. In the garment industry, BOFE may confiscate illegally manufactured garments.

In 1994 BOFE investigated 8,426 employers. As a result, the Bureau issued a total of 3,834 citations. The citations were for: lack of workers' compensation coverage or not having coverage for all employees--2,550, child labor violations--256, payment of wages in cash without the required itemized deduction statement--410, not paying minimum wage--36, unlicensed farm labor contractors--29, and garment manufacturing registration and recordkeeping violations--553.

For all industries, BOFE identified $8,618,928 in wages owed to employees and recovered $8,329,562. It should be noted that these figures are separate from wage claims adjudicated by the Labor Commissioner's wage claims unit.

BOFE also opened 1,047 investigations to ensure that prevailing wages were paid on public works projects. During the year, 1,551 prevailing wage cases were closed. The Labor Commissioner found $4,622,876 in prevailing wages due and collected $4,661,371 during the year.

Over the past two years, BOFE has maximized its enforcement efforts and resources through two multi-agency enforcement programs, the Targeted Industries Partnership Program (TIPP) and the Joint Enforcement Strike Force (JESF). TIPP focuses on the garment manufacturing and agriculture industries, while the JESF investigates activity in the underground economy.

In this respect, BOFE has worked to focus its activities on industries with histories of labor law violations. A significant amount of BOFE's activity, however, is driven by complaints.

Non-compliance with minimum labor standards often stems from lack of knowledge of labor law requirements. The Labor Commissioner has published two pamphlets--Summary of Some Basic California Employer Requirements and Summary of Some Basic California Requirements for Agricultural Employers--to assist employers.

In user-friendly language, these publications detail minimum labor standards.

Copies of both publications are available by writing to:

Department of Industrial Relations
Publications Office
P.O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142-0603
or by calling (415) 703-5281.