CA Attorney General Partners with U.S. Department of Labor To Combat Wage Theft

LOS ANGELES — On July 28, 2015 Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) signed a cooperative agreement to crack down on employer wage theft and other illegal labor practices. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both agencies will facilitate the sharing of information and enhance enforcement of labor violations.

“Wage theft is a crime that hurts our economy and robs hard working Californians of their livelihoods,” said Attorney General Harris. “This agreement allows our agencies to better investigate and prosecute those who exploit workers and deny them the pay and benefits they deserve. I thank the Department of Labor for their partnership and commitment to protecting the rights of workers.”

“As host to one of the largest underground economies and immigrant populations in the United States, it makes sense that we begin our quest to combat wage theft. This partnership with the State AG’s office is long over due,” said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the western region for the U.S. Department of Labor.

The agreement establishes a collaborative partnership between the Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Labor to coordinate enforcement efforts. Specifically, the agreement will enhance both agencies’ ability to investigate and prosecute cases of wage theft and other labor violations through the exchange of investigative information and resources.

The collaborative agreement will work to combat illegal labor practices such as wage theft, which includes violations of minimum wage and overtime laws. In addition, the agreement will help both agencies combat employee misclassification, which denies workers important protections such as overtime pay and unemployment insurance.

Industries most impacted by wage theft include restaurants, janitorial work, the garment industry, retail, construction and car washes.

The Attorney General’s Underground Economy Unit is dedicated to protecting workers’ rights, bringing civil and criminal actions against persons engaged in the underground economy. The Unit’s enforcement efforts are directed at deterring underground economy violations, recapturing lost revenues, and protecting workers and legitimate businesses from illegal and predatory enterprises.

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Image: U.S. Department of Labor Regional Administrator for the Western Region Ruben Rosalez and California Department of Justice General Counsel Brian Nelson sign the memorandum of understanding. Photo Credit: Office of the Attorney General.

Source: State of California Department of Justice and Office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

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