ANNUAL REPORT ON THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF BUREAU OF FIELD ENFORCEMENT

 

Labor Code § 90.5(d) requires the Labor Commissioner to report annually to the Legislature concerning the effectiveness of the Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE). This report shall include: (1) the enforcement plan adopted by the Labor Commissioner and the rationale for the priorities, (2) the number of establishments investigated by BOFE, and the number and types of violations found, (3) the amount of wages found to be unlawfully withheld from workers, and the amount of unpaid wages recovered for workers, and (4) the amount of penalties transferred to the General Fund as a result of the efforts of BOFE.

BOFE investigates complaints and takes enforcement actions to ensure employees are not being required or permitted to work under unlawful conditions. Enforcement action taken by BOFE involves the enforcement of child labor laws; the requirement of employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage; audits of payroll records, collection of unpaid minimum wages, overtime, as well as prevailing and other unpaid wages; the issuance of civil and criminal citations; and the confiscation of illegally manufactured garments, and injunctive relief to preclude further violations of the law.

The Labor Commissioner has maximized enforcement efforts through the use of multi-agency enforcement programs operating within BOFE. These programs are designed to focus enforcement on those employers committing flagrant violations or operating in the underground economy. The Labor Commissioner is intent on giving the economic advantage back to the law-abiding employer, and to protect workers from unlawful labor practices. These multi-agency programs are specifically, the Targeted Industries Partnership Program (TIPP), which is a joint enforcement and educational effort between the Labor Commissioner and its sister agency, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the California Employment Development Department and the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. The second program is the Joint Enforcement Strike Force (JESF), whose members include the Labor Commissioner, the Employment Development Department, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Office of Criminal Justice Planning, the Department of Justice, the Franchise Tax Board, and the Board of Equalization.

During the past year, investigators in BOFE have concentrated their efforts in industries with histories of labor law violations, as well as industries that tend to operate in the underground economy. Specifically, BOFE has focused on enforcement activity in such industries as garment manufacturing, agriculture, and restaurants. In the 5,299 inspections conducted during 1999, the greatest number of violations found involved failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, resulting in 1, 136 citations. Investigators also issued 449 citations for violations relating to garment manufacturing registration requirements and 453 citations for paying employees in cash without the required itemized wage deduction statement.

During 1999, BOFE investigators from DLSE collected $3,905,868 in wages owed to employees in California.

In addition to enforcement of specific Labor Code statutes and provisions of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage orders, BOFE investigates complaints arising from violations of the state’s prevailing wage laws, and conducts payroll audits on behalf of California’s workers for back wages owed. During 1999, investigations of violations of prevailing wage laws resulted in $3,210,945 in wages for workers on public works projects. In addition to collecting wages owed for underpayment or non-payment of prevailing wages, DSLE collected $ 894,335 in civil penalties for wage and public works violations.

In accordance with subsections (2), (3), and (4) of Labor Code § 90.5(d), the following data is presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the field enforcement unit during 1999:

Number of Establishments Investigated

Total Number of Citations Issued for
Labor Law Violations

5,299


2461

Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Child Labor
Cash Pay
Minimum Wage
Unlicensed Contractors
Garment Manufacturing Penalties

1,136
299
453
52
72
449

Public Works (prevailing wage) Enforcement

Cases Opened
Cases Closed

Wages Recovered
Penalties Collected

 

 

1,559
1349

$3,210,944
$ 894,335

Amount of wages recovered for workers

* $7,116,812

* This figure denotes only wages recovered through BOFE and Public Works. General wage claims filed with the Labor Commissioner are not processed through BOFE.

Amount of penalties transferred to the
General Fund in Calendar Year 1999

$ 3,868,816

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Marcy V. Saunders
State Labor Commissioner
March 2000