Labor Code §98.7 which became effective January 1986, establishes the authority of the Labor Commissioner in the investigation, processing and resolution of employee complaints for discrimination arising under various sections of the Labor Code. The procedures established pursuant to Labor Code §98.7 entail an investigation and or the convening of an investigative hearing after the filing of a complaint alleging discrimination in employment by an employee. In the event that the Labor Commissioner determines that a violation has occurred, the statute authorizes the Labor Commissioner to direct the violator to cease and desist from the violation and to take such action as is deemed necessary to remedy the violation including, where appropriate, rehiring or reinstatement of the aggrieved employee, reimbursement of lost wages and interest thereon, and or payment of reasonable attorney's fees associated with any investigative hearing by the Labor Commissioner.
Currently, the Division is charged with enforcing twenty-one statutes prohibiting discrimination in the work place. While the majority of these statutes are contained in the Labor Code, the Division also enforces statutes contained in the Health and Welfare Code and the Unemployment Insurance Code.
The following data is submitted in accordance with Labor Code §98.75:
Exhibit "A" shows the number of complaints filed or opened under the various Labor Code Sections in 1999. The Division recorded a total of 795 cases filed in 1999. Approximately 39% of all cases opened during the year were complaints filed pursuant to Labor Code Section 98.6, which prohibits retaliation or discrimination in the workplace as a result of filing or intent to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner. These claims numbered 313. The second largest group were those which arose as a result of employees alleging discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation, numbering 154, which comprised 19% of total complaints filed. The third largest group of complaints of discrimination filed arose from health and safety issues in the workplace. These complaints, numbering 130, involved employees who claimed discrimination due to reporting safety and health violations on the job, which comprised 16% of total complaints filed.
Exhibit "B" shows the disposition of the various discrimination cases that were processed in 1999. The Division issued decisions in 232 cases, finding for the complainant in 57 of those and for the respondent in 175 cases. Of the total 607 cases closed in 1999, 93 were withdrawn by the complainants before a determination was reached, and 65 cases resulted in voluntary settlements to the satisfaction of both parties.
Beginning in 1993 the Division implemented a statewide centralized Discrimination Complaint Investigation (DCI) Unit with five Deputy Labor Commissioners assigned full-time to investigate all discrimination complaints referred to the Division. The Deputies in the DCI Unit, currently ten full-time investigators, receive ongoing training in investigative techniques and report writing in a effort to ensure they all have a thorough knowledge of the discrimination statutes. The Division will continue to review its procedures to ensure the continuing success of the program.
Marcy V. Saunders
February 1, 2000