AB 594: Labor Code Enforcement

Assembly Bill 594 Assemblyman Brian Mayenshine (D-San Diego) recently introduced amendments to provide an alternative enforcement mechanism under the Labor Code. The bill would amend Section 218 of the Labor Code, adding Section 226.9 and Chapter 8.

Section 1 of the bill contains seven legislative findings and statements, including that wage theft is widespread in California and especially egregious in low wage industries, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable workers. In addition, it is important that we make the most of the tools available to government law enforcement to provide workers with access to justice, hold businesses that break the law accountable, and ensure our public safety system.

Section 2 of the bill will add a chapter 8 titled “Alternative Law Enforcement” to Section 1 of the Labor Code. It will define the term “public prosecutor”. The prosecutor will be empowered to initiate criminal or civil proceedings for violations of the Labor Code or to enforce the provisions of the Labor Code independently and without specific direction from the Labor Enforcement Division, the Compensation Division, or the Occupational Safety and Health Division.

The public prosecutor will be allowed to seek an injunction to prevent continued violations of the Labor Code. The court will have to award the successful plaintiff his reasonable fees and attorney’s fees, including the fees of expert witnesses.

In lawsuits initiated by a public prosecutor to enforce the Labor Code, any agreement between an employee and an employer aimed at limiting representation or instituting private arbitration shall have no effect on the proceedings or on the authority of the public prosecutor. to comply with the Labor Code.

Any motion or other legal action to compel the prosecutor to arbitrate a claim in connection with any agreement between an employee and an employer will be deemed frivolous, and any subsequent appeal against the dismissal of any motion or other legal action shall not be will suspend consideration of the case in the court of first instance. production.

Section 3 of the bill would amend Section 218 of the Labor Code to remove provisions regarding the powers of the District Attorney. Section 4 of the bill will add Section 226.9 of the Labor Code, providing that, as an alternative to the existing process, the Labor Commissioner may determine that a person or employer has violated applicable law and may issue a warning from the Labor Commissioner. In addition, the employee will be entitled to either a statutory penalty or a civil penalty for the same violation.

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