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California Labor Federation Releases Statement on the Audit of the Labor Commissioner’s Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Shubhangi Domokos, shubhangi@calaborfed.org / 916-934-6963

California Labor Federation Releases Statement on the Audit of the Labor Commissioner’s Office

Labor Federation Calls on the State of California to Address Labor Law Enforcement Crisis

SACRAMENTO – (May 29, 2024) – Lorena Gonzalez, principal officer of the California Labor Federation, issued a statement in response to the California State Auditor’s findings issued today on the Labor Commissioner’s Office and its role processing wage theft claims.

Today’s audit findings demonstrate that California workers face an enforcement crisis. Our state enforcement agencies weren’t designed to handle this magnitude of labor law violations. It is unacceptable that workers whose wages are stolen must wait years for a hearing and that even when they win a judgment, employers rarely ever pay the back wages they owe.

It is urgent that the State of California address this crisis:

—The Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/HR must prioritize filling the hundreds of vacancies at the Labor Commissioner’s Office and Cal/OSHA.

—The Labor Commissioner must be empowered to utilize an expedited emergency hiring process to allow the agency to function without unnecessary delays.

—We must expand and fund enforcement options, both public and private, so workers are not forced to rely on one underfunded and understaffed agency.

—We must defeat attempts by Big Business to repeal PAGA, the law that allows workers to bring collective representative actions against employers for violating labor laws in court.

—We must add injunctive relief to PAGA, as reflected in AB 2288 (Kalra), to permanently end repeat labor abuses by a single employer.

—We need to challenge the widespread use of forced arbitration that limits worker access to justice at both the state and federal level.

If there is no guarantee that workers have timely access to justice, there is no business incentive for corporations to follow the law. We must act with urgency to strengthen all enforcement options to ensure that California’s labor laws are meaningful in the lives of workers.”

To arrange for an interview with Lorena Gonzalez, please contact Shubhangi Domokos at shubhangi@calaborfed.org or (916) 934-6963. 

 The California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO represents over 1,300 affiliated unions in California with over 2.3 million union members in trucking, retail, hospitality, janitorial, construction, health care, local and state government, education, arts and entertainment, warehousing and logistics, manufacturing, and a variety of other sectors. 

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