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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Labor Law Enforcement in California, 1970-2000

  • Author(s): Bar-Cohen, Limor;
  • Carrillo, Deana Milam
  • et al.

This chapter examines the record of two state agencies within the California Department of Industrial Relations, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the California Occupational Safety and Health Program (Cal/OSHA), over the 1970-2000 period. Although the data available on the performance of these agencies are severely limited - in most cases consisting only of enforcement activity measures, without any valid measures of enforcement outcomes, it is possible to draw some conclusions. The analysis shows that the agencies' budget and staffing allocations have generally not kept pace with the growth in the size of the state's workforce, nor with the agencies' increased responsibilities. Despite recent improvements, the agencies are still funded and staffed at 1989 levels. Moreover, several key activity measures, such as the number of investigations, citations, and penalties assessed, have failed to increase in proportion to the expansion of funding and staffing that has occurred. The chapter highlights the urgent need for these agencies to collect data on outcomes, so that any future progress in their work can be measured and evaluated in a rigorous manner.

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