About DLSE

The mission of the California Labor Commissioner's Office is to ensure a just day's pay in every workplace in the State and to promote economic justice through robust enforcement of labor laws. By combating wage theft, protecting workers from retaliation, and educating the public, we put earned wages into workers' pockets and help level the playing field for law-abiding employers. This office is also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

Office of the Labor Commissioner

The Labor Commissioner is appointed by the Governor to serve as Chief of DLSE.

DLSE adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces labor law and the Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. To ensure that minimum labor standards are adequately enforced, DLSE has established the following units:

Wage Claim Adjudication

Adjudicates wage claims on the behalf of workers who file claims for nonpayment of wages, overtime, or vacation pay pursuant to California Labor Code Sections 96 and 98. DLSE deputies hold informal conferences between employers and employees to resolve wage disputes. If a matter cannot be resolved at the informal conference, an administrative hearing is held to make a final determination on the matter.

Retaliation Unit

Investigates complaints alleging discriminatory retaliation in the workplace on the basis of various Labor Code sections.

Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE)

BOFE is responsible for investigation and enforcement of statutes covering workers' compensation insurance coverage, child labor, cash pay, unlicensed contractors, Industrial Welfare Commission orders, as well as group claims involving minimum wage and overtime claims. BOFE also handles criminal investigations involving these group claims.

Public Works Unit

Investigates and enforces application of appropriate prevailing wage rates for public works construction projects.

Licensing and Registration

Issues licenses to farm labor contractors, talent agents, employers, transporters and supervisors of minors involved in door-to-door sales, and industrial homeworkers. Registers garment manufacturers, Car washing and Polishing establishments, certifies studio teachers, and approves permits for Child Performer Services and the payment of less than the minimum wage to employees with a disability and to sheltered workshops. Verifies farm labor contractor licenses.


DLSE's attorneys present civil cases at both the trial and appellate level. The majority of cases involve issues of unpaid wages that have arisen as a result of an appeal taken from an order, decision, or award of the Labor Commissioner. DLSE attorneys also pursue cases involving violations of the prevailing wage provisions of the public works laws.

DLSE regulations notification

If you would like to receive email notifications of new DLSE regulations, please subscribe to DLSE Regulations. Note: Pursuant to Government Code section 11340.85(b)(3), by including your e-mail address, you are expressly authorizing us to send you notices via e-mail.  Alternatively, you may send a request with your name, address, phone number and any specific subject matter of interest to:

Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
1515 Clay Street
Suite 401
Oakland, CA 94612

Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders (IWC orders)

A request for a legal opinion must be submitted by letter to the Chief Counsel of the Labor Commissioner and must contain a statement that there is no California decision or prior DLSE opinion on point and that you have actively researched the subject matter on the DLSE website, including the DLSE Enforcement Policies and Interpretations Manual found on the website. The request must also contain a statement that the opinion is not sought in connection with anticipated or pending private litigation concerning the issue addressed in the request nor is the opinion sought in connection with an investigation or litigation between a client or firm and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

All such requests for a legal opinion which comply with the above requirements should be submitted to:

Chief Counsel
Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
1515 Clay Street
Suite 401
Oakland, CA 94612

Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004

The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. Those who intend to pursue PAGA cases must follow the requirements specified in Labor Code Sections 2698 - 2699.5.

PAGA requires that new claim notices, responses, and certain court documents be filed with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). All items being filed with LWDA must be submitted through our website at https://www.dir.ca.gov/Private-Attorneys-General-Act/Private-Attorneys-General-Act.html using the appropriate intake form. Please read the submission instructions before submitting documents.


April 2019