Although the official name for the California Department of Labor is the California Department of Industrial Relations, most employees use the more common term California Department of Labor as synonymous. The name, California Department of Labor is more familiar to the employee likely because it is similar to the federal, “U.S. Department of Labor.” Thus, for purposes of this section, we will use the more familiar, yet unofficial term, California Department of Labor.
The California Department of Labor is made up of several departments:
- The Labor Commissioner
- Cal/OSHA, Division of Workers Compensation
- Division of Labor Statistics and Research
- State Mediation and Conciliation Services
- Boards, Commissions and Programs
The Labor Commissioner: The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the Office of the Labor Commissioner were formed to decide wage and hour issues, investigate discrimination and public works complaints, and enforce Labor Code statutes and Industrial Welfare Commission orders. The Labor Commissioner is appointed by the Governor to serve as the Chief of the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
Cal/OSHA, Division of Workers Compensation: The Cal/OSHA Program is responsible for ensuring that California statutes and regulations relating to safety in the workplace are adhered to and for providing help to employers and employees regarding workplace safety and health issues. This California department provides workplace safety and health assistance to employers and employee via on-site assistance and special emphasis programs. It also publishes a wide variety of educational studies on workplace safety and health agendas.
Division of Labor Statistics and Research: The Division of Labor Statistics and Research (DLSR) serves the people of California by collecting, compiling, and presenting accurate and timely statistics and research related to the condition of labor in the State of California. This information is useful both in the private sector and in government. This California department collects data on non-fatal occupation injuries and illness as well as fatal occupational injuries and illness.
State Mediation and Conciliation Services: The State Mediation & Conciliation Service was formed to improve employer-union relations in California. Skilled, impartial SMCS staff will mediate labor disputes between employers and employee organizations free of charge. The intention of this program is to foster better relations amongst employers and unions in California. The goal in doing this, of course, is to mitigate the time and cost that comes with protracted disputes.
Boards, Commissions and Programs: There are six major boards, commissions and/or programs in the State of California. These are: Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC), Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC), Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (OSHAB), Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB), Self Insurance Plans (SIP), and Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). Each California board plays a vital role in the lives and welfare of California workers.
The California Department of Labor is most commonly known by employees as offering the services of the California Labor Board. The California Dept of Labor offers California Labor Board services when a dispute arises between an employer and an employee.
The California Department of Labor assists employees who do not wish to hire or cannot afford to hire a California labor law attorney. The California Labor Department provides a vehicle where employees and employers can get information about California labor laws and California Dept of Labor Rulings. The web site that is provided to the public also provides up to date information on CA labor rules and CA Dept of Labor opinions on employment topics. The California state department of labor is used by not only employers and employees, but human resource departments of many companies that seek to comply with the many rules and regulations set forth by the CA Department of Labor.