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California Employers May Face Increased Criminal Investigations

Lexology (03/26/12) Asa W. Markel

To enhance efforts to stop wage theft, a new criminal
investigation unit has been established by the California
Department of Industrial Relations, tasked with investigating
possible violations of the state’s labor code. State law
makes it illegal for employers to withhold wages or neglect
requirements for semi-monthly paychecks, and civil and criminal
penalties for wage and hour law violations have been increased
under the recently enacted Wage Theft Prevention Act and Employee
Misclassification Act. Although no groundbreaking criminal
investigations or prosecutions have been announced yet, experts
say employers should understand that enforcement of wage and hour
laws is a major focus of governmental and legislative policy.