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The Basics of Wage & Hour

The Labor Commissioner’s Office (also called the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)) is a part of the California
Department of Industrial Relations.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office is the state agency that decides your claim for unpaid wages.

It enforces minimum labor standards to ensure employees are not permitted to work under substandard, unlawful conditions.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office is here to protect your rights, regardless of your immigration status.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office will not ask about your immigration status or report your immigration status to other government agencies.

You do not need a Social Security Number or photo identification to file a claim.

You do not need a lawyer and the Labor Commissioner will provide an interpreter in your language.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office enforces labor laws through the following units:


The Wage Claim Adjudication Unit reviews and decides individual claims for unpaid wages and other labor law violations.


The Garment Wage Claim Adjudication Unit reviews and decides claims filed by garment workers under the “Garment Worker Protection Act,” a law known as “AB 633.”

The Bureau of Field Enforcement (BofE) investigates reports of employers’ failure to provide minimum wage, overtime or meal and rest periods to groups of workers. BofE also investigates complaints against employers for violations of workers’ compensation, child labor, recordkeeping, licensing, and registration laws.


The Public Works Unit investigates violations of labor laws on public works construction projects. “Prevailing wages” are wages that are higher than the State minimum wage and are required for workers on most public construction projects.


The Retaliation Complaint Investigation Unit investigates complaints of retaliation. “Retaliation” occurs when an employer takes actions such as firing a worker or reducing hours or pay because the worker took steps to enforce his or her labor rights.

The Judgment Enforcement Unit helps workers to collect their wages after the Labor Commissioner determines that an employer owes unpaid wages.

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