Cue the jangling spurs, wind-tossed duster and squint-eyed man reaching for his pistol—a new sheriff just stepped into town and is ready to keep the peace. California’s Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement yesterday announced the formation of a new group that will have its eye squarely focused on employers. The DIR’s new Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) will scrutinize employers that perpetrate wage theft and other illicit activities against workers.
The CIU will comprise sworn peace officers who have graduated from the police academy. CIU officers will report to California Labor Commissioner Julie Su, and will have the authority to investigate and arrest employers for labor code violations, file criminal charges and serve subpoenas and inspection warrants. They also will be permitted to carry firearms.