Press Release

Scathing State Audit Confirms Labor Commission’s Failure to Act on Behalf of Workers

Findings that Workers Were Cheated on $63.9 million in Past Wages Come from Request by Senator Glazer   

SACRAMENTO – California Labor Commissioners have stood idly by as a massive backlog in wage theft cases piled up worth $63.9 million in lost wages to workers as its enforcement unit failed to enforce and collect wages in 76 percent of cases in which employers were found to owe wages, according to a report released Wednesday by Grant Parks, the California State Auditor.

The scathing audit came as a result of a March 2023 request through the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by Senator Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, and Assembly member David Alvarez, D-San Diego. It was based on news reports about the lack of wage theft enforcement.

Senator Glazer released this statement on the audit findings:

“The California State Auditor’s report makes clear that our State Labor Commissioner is a toothless enforcer of our wage theft laws. This deeply troubling assessment exposes a system that has fundamentally failed the workers it is supposed to protect. According to the auditor, there is a backlog of 47,000 claims registered on June 30, 2023. This is a state embarrassment and a stain on the department that workers depend on for justice.

The report also highlights an alarming increase in the average number of days to resolve claims, which has skyrocketed from 420 days in 2017/18 to an astounding 890 days in 2022/23. This drastic decline in efficiency is not just a statistic; it represents thousands of workers enduring prolonged injustice and financial hardship..

This lack of enforcement emboldens companies to exploit workers, knowing they can likely escape any real consequences, thus perpetuating and increasing further abuse. These findings paint a grim picture of an agency overwhelmed and ineffective, leaving workers vulnerable and without recourse. Immediate and decisive action to restore integrity and effectiveness to the Labor Commissioner's office is needed. The workers of California deserve nothing less than a robust system that ensures timely and fair resolution of wage theft claims.”


The report can be found here: