In the State of California, there are nearly 18 million wage earners who perform work either part-time or full-time. Even though they are protected by the prevailing employment and labor laws on both the federal and state levels, not all of them are afforded of their right especially since not all employers are able to adhere with the laws to begin with. Some business owners willfully and wrongfully commit certain wage violations by failing to give their workers the necessary minimum and overtime wages. Others fail to provide them the time to take their rest breaks and meal periods. Others disregard the health and safety of their workers, especially if they perform work in an environment that raises their risk of injuries or death. Probably the most glaring of all law violations that happen within the realm of employment and labor is with regard to promoting workplace hostility, wherein they subject employees and applicants to discrimination, harassment or retaliation, whether due to their protected characteristics or for exercising their rights.
Fortunately for them, a lot of California’s state departments and agencies that govern employment and labor in the state are ready to take care of them, making sure that their rights are upheld. To begin with, these entities are responsible for ensuring that employers are able to comply with the prevailing laws. Not only are they protective of employees, but they also do everything to keep the economy within California lively and stable. A well-known state agency that mostly does this is the California DIR, or the Department of Industrial Relations.
The DIR has four divisions, each having specific responsibilities with regards to various aspects of employment and labor in California. One division is called the DLSE, or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and its main responsibility is to decide on wage claims being filed by workers who had been having problems with their employers when it comes to minimum wages and overtime payments. Another is the DWC, or the Division of Workers’ Compensation. It is responsible for deciding on workers’ compensation claims, whether injured workers can receive benefits under the private insurance or not. The Cal/OSHA, also known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health or DOSH, is also a sub-entity of the DIR that focuses on enforcing workplace safety regulations for the benefit of workers who perform their jobs at inherently dangerous industries such as plants and construction sites.
Not only does the DIR protect employees from issues involving their employers, but it is also responsible for its programs that would help individuals in obtaining the necessary skills they need to be ready when job opportunities arise, through the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. The DIR also works together with other state employment agencies and entities, making sure that employers violating tax and labor laws and operating their businesses underground are investigated and be meted with penalties.
Regardless of the employment and labor situation a lot of employees face in the workplace, they can be sure that the Department of Industrial Relations in California is ready to help them obtain the justice they deserve and have erring employers pay for their failure to comply with the California and federal employment laws.
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