FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-70
December 11, 2008

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


EEEC issues $107,500 in penalties in Northern California Agriculture enforcement

San Francisco – As part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2005 initiative to combat the underground economy, state investigators from the Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC) conducted inspections Northern California and issued $107,500 in penalties to businesses in the agriculture industry that violated labor laws.

"California law provides protections for workers, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the laws are being followed," said EEEC Executive Director David Dorame. "We also owe responsible employers vigorous enforcement against those who don't comply with California labor laws, thereby, gaining an unfair economic advantage by not following the rules."

Over the two-day enforcement sweep that began on Dec.3, investigators visited 47 and citing 30 agriculture businesses that included nurseries, greenhouses, landscapers, farm labor contractors, dairies, growers for:

Businesses engaged in the underground economy deprive the state and legitimate businesses of millions of dollars each year, and in many cases, pass the cost on to the consumer.

The EEEC enforces California labor laws through unannounced enforcement sweeps targeting businesses that avoid labor, tax and licensing laws, safety and health regulations and carry no workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

EEEC also conducts educational outreach to business owners and workers on labor laws and regulations through regularly statewide workshops.

To request a complete list of the violations and businesses cited email the Department of Industrial Relations at: Communications@dir.ca.gov.

EEEC is currently targeting garment, agriculture, construction, pallet, auto body, car wash and restaurant businesses. These industries have been identified as having a high incidence of workplace violations and a lack of regulatory compliance.

In collaboration with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the Employment Development Department, EEEC works directly with DIR’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to carry out its mission. The U.S. Department of Labor also participates in the EEEC as does the Contractors State License Board when the construction industry is being targeted.

For more information on the EEEC, please visit our website at www.dir.ca.gov.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints can call the toll-free California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757, available in English and Spanish.

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