California Wage and Hour Investigations: What you need to know

California employers must admit the state's labor commissioner (and his or her deputies and agents) to all places of employment, and on request, provide relevant information (CA Lab. Code Sec. 90). The commissioner has the authority to investigate employee complaints (CA Lab. Code Sec. 98); issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to attend relevant proceedings and employers to produce relevant records; administer oaths; examine witnesses under oath; and take depositions, among other things (CA Lab. Code Sec. 92).
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Any employer or other person acting on behalf of an employer, who violates any provision regulating minimum wages or hours and days of work may be held liable. The term “other person acting on behalf of an employer” is limited to a person who is an owner, director, officer, or managing agent of the employer.
Under California law, it is a misdemeanor to willfully refuse to provide information to the labor commissioner. Such a violation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 (CA Lab. Code Sec. 90). Willfully impeding an investigation is also a misdemeanor, and the charge carries a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment, or both (CA Lab. Code Sec. 90.7). In addition, it is a misdemeanor to:
• Willfully ignore a subpoena issued by the commission--if the appearance is within 100 miles of “the place of service” (CA Lab. Code Sec. 93).
• Violate certain wage payment provisions (CA Lab. Code Sec. 215).
• Willfully refuse to pay wages due on demand (CA Lab. Code Sec. 216).
• Fail to meet recordkeeping requirements or refuse to provide relevant records to investigators (CA Lab. Code Sec. 1175).
• Uses the Internet domain name of another individual, corporation, or entityRefuse access to a place of employment ...

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