Division of Labor Standards Enforcement


California is one of the many states that have the best labor standards, as well as a set of employment laws that are implemented for the protection of employees and the strict compliance of covered employers. Just look at how the state’s myriad of agencies and entities handling various issues with regard to employees, as well as employers. If employers don’t address employees’ complaints of labor law violation, retaliation or discrimination in the workplace, they can always seek these agencies and entities. With the prevailing labor and employment laws and regulations in place all throughout California, employees know that they can assert their rights at any time their employers fail to comply with these laws. One primary state agency that has been continuously providing great service to aggrieved employees is the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE.

Also known as the Office of the Labor Commissioner, the DLSE is a state entity that is one of the four divisions of the Department of Industrial Relations or DIR. The sub-entity was established as part of the DIR to focus on adjudicating employees’ claims of unpaid wages, as well as to investigate complaints made by employees with regards to discrimination and public works. The DLSE enforces some of the well-known labor standards within California, which are found in the state’s Labor Code and other laws, as well as wage orders regulated by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC).

Basically, employees who have issues with their employers and companies that are believed to have violated the state’s laws enforced by the DLSE can file their claims and complaints with the division. Below is a list of the primary DLSE claims:

  • Complaints of labor law violations
    These are mainly reviewed and investigated by the division’s Bureau of Field Enforcement. Complaints submitted with the said bureau involve employers failing to adhere with the IWC orders with respect to the payment of minimum wages and overtime and giving meal and rest periods, failing to comply with the child labor laws of the state or failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Wage complaints stemming from public works projects
    Workers doing jobs in public works projects, whether they are construction, demolition, alteration, or repair efforts, should always be provided with the right wages. However, some who are responsible for any of these efforts often fail to pay them these wages, thus violating public works laws in California. With these possibilities, affected workers are entitled to file public works complaints with the DLSE.
  • Wage claims
    Any former or current employee who is considered as non-exempt can file his or her individual wage claim for instances wherein his or her employer fails to pay overtime and minimum wages, fails to provide his or her final paycheck or fails to give him or her the necessary meal and rest break periods. Other wage claims filed with the DLSE also involve employers waiting time penalties, as well as unauthorized wage deductions.
  • Discrimination and/or retaliation claims
    An employee may file a discrimination or retaliation claim with the DLSE against his or her employer. However, the employer violation should be within what the division enforces. For example, an employee may file a claim for lost wages due to failure to hire, or demotion, suspension or termination just because he or she engaged in lawful conduct or exercised a protected right. If the employment discrimination or retaliation involves one’s race, sex, gender, disability or any other protected characteristic, a claim may be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Related Articles

Free Legal Advice

A top law firm’s advice is below. You can also find best law firms


Find Employment Lawyer

How to find a best employment attorney to assist you with your employment claim.


Employment Discrimination Claims

Employment discrimination in the workplace is still prevalent despite legal awareness and numerous statutes enacted to protect employees


Employment Law

Employment laws protect employees from all types of discrimination, retaliation and even wrongful termination.


Labor Law Violations

Every employee in the work place needs to be wary of any acts in violation of their employment and labor law rights.