If the California Department of Industrial Relations comes after you, don’t expect to get away with anything illegal. The department reports that since January 2013, a joint enforcement task force of state regulatory agencies looking for pay and safety violations has wound up citing 83% of work sites inspected.
Launched in 2012, the task force was designed to target “unscrupulous employers” that exploit the underground economy. In 2012, the construction industry was the worst offender and remains a prime target.
Research shows that violators are likely to break the law in several ways—through wage theft, safety violations, and failures to comply with licensing and tax rules. Through increased collaboration among agencies monitoring worker protections, however, offending employers can be caught earlier and violations detected more comprehensively.
Highlights of the recent enforcement push include a $247,681 lien placed on a Holiday Inn under construction in Eureka. The task force also recovered unpaid wages due 31 workers hired by PacWest Contracting of Bend, Ore.—and fined the company $27,000 for 13 safety violations.
The joint task force includes Cal/OSHA, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Contractors Licensing Board, the Department of Insurance, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and the Office of the Attorney General.