Businesses, wages and what’s fair
Re “Stiffer penalties proposed for shortchanging workers,” Sept. 17
Cal Chamber member companies take issue with this article, specifically with regard to AB 2187, which would make wage theft a misdemeanor crime.
One of the main reasons companies join Cal Chamber is to stay compliant with California’s complex employment laws.
Cal Chamber would never condone any intentional wage violations. However, AB 2187 goes well beyond that and could result in criminalizing employers with legitimate disputes over wage claims. Further, the bill is unneeded because existing law requires employers to make the employee whole should wages be due.
AB 2187 won’t create more people to enforce the law. In fact, it will divert current staff’s time away from prosecuting intentional violators. Criminalizing employers with legitimate disputes over wage claims will make California’s business climate even more rugged, costing jobs at a time when we can least afford it.
Sacramento The writer is president and chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce.
I would like to point out that my office’s high level of enforcement is having a measureable effect for the benefit of low-income workers and for a level playing field for businesses.
With respect to the car-wash industry that you discussed, in 2008 my office inspected one-third of carwashes in California, assessing $3.7 million in penalties.
The total number of inspections in all low-wage industries by my office in the last two years — 9,000 in each year — along with the significant groundbreaking litigation filed have had a major impact in fighting the underground economy for the benefit of low-income workers and legitimate businesses.
Sacramento The writer is the state labor commissioner. HOW TO WRITE TO US Please send letters to email@example.com. For submission guidelines, see latimes.com/letters or call 1-800-LA TIMES, ext. 74511.