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Employment Law: Federal and California Sources: Online Government Resources

This guide includes general secondary sources and online government resources. Specialized topics include employment discrimination & harassment, wage & hour law, employee privacy, independent contractors, and workers' compensation.

Federal Resources

  1. U.S. Department of Labor

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of a number of Federal employment laws.  Most notably, the DOL enforces federal wage and hour laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, regarding minimum wages and overtime rules.  The DOL is also responsible for the administration of several other employment laws, including laws regarding workplace safety (Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act), employment related background checks (Consumer Credit Protection Act), lie-detectors in the workplace (Employee Polygraph Protection Act), benefits (Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)), family and medial leaves of absence (Family and Medical Leave Act) and layoffs (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)).

    The DOL’s Website provides a treasure trove of information.  The site identifies the major laws administered by the DOL and contains white papers, called e-laws Advisors, explaining each of the laws.  The site also includes a searchable Employment Law Guide organized topically, explaining the requirements of the different laws enforced by the DOL.  The Employment Law Guide generally seems more user friendly than the elaws Advisors, but for many topics, it does not contain the same level of detail as the elaws Advisors.  For this reason, the Employment Law Guide may be a good place to begin research, and the elaws Advisors can be helpful to answer questions not resolved by the Guide.

    The site includes a great deal of other information on the major laws administered by the DOL, other DOL news and information and statistical information.  For statistical information, see the Economic Data page.  In addition, the site contains DOL forms and contact information.
  2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Federal laws regarding anti-discrimination.  The EEOC administers and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment act of 1967, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on age; provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination and harassment against qualified individuals with disabilities and requires reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities; and other laws prohibiting discrimination. For a complete list, visit the "Laws enforced by EEOC" page.

    See also the "EEOC Compliance Manual" online via VitalLaw (formerly Cheetah; UCLA only.)

California Resources

  1. California Labor Commissioner (Division of Labor Standards Enforcement)

    The California Labor Commissioner / Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) is a division of the California Department of Industrial Relations.  The Labor Commissioner is responsible for the administration and interpretation of California’s laws regarding wages, hours of work and certain working conditions, including minimum wage and overtime laws.

    The Labor Commissioner’s site offers useful information regarding California wage and hour laws. The site includes the text of the Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders establishing wage and hour rules by industry/profession.

    Perhaps of most assistance, the site includes a link to The 2002 Update of the DLSE Enforcement Policies and Interpretations Manual (last revised August, 2019). This 300+ page manual is kept current with additional updates and contains the DLSE’s interpretations of the laws that it administers and enforces.  While the Manual itself is not an official regulation, and therefore does not have the force of law, the Manual is an invaluable resource to understand California wage and hour law. 

    The site also includes a FAQ organized by subject, which provides relatively easy-to-understand answers to common questions regarding wage and hour laws.  An additional noteworthy feature of the DLSE’s Website is its inclusion of its opinion letters issued on a variety of wage and hour topics.  The opinion letters can be displayed alphabetically by subject or chronologically by date. See also Legislative Reports, on various topics (Bureau of Field Enforcement; retaliation complaints; discrimination complaints; etc.)
  2. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

    Similar to the EEOC, The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, marital status, medical condition, national origin, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.  The FEHA also requires reasonable accommodation of qualified individuals with disabilities and requires that qualified employees be given pregnancy disability leave.  The DFEH is also responsible for the administration and enforcement of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA; also known as the "Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act") requiring the grant of family/medical leave under qualifying circumstances. See Laws & Regulations for a complete list.
  3. California Employment Development Department   

    The California Employment Development Department (EDD) administers California’s unemployment and disability insurance programs.  The EDD also is responsible for auditing and collecting payroll taxes and maintaining California labor statistics.  In addition, the EDD offers services for job seekers, employees and employers.

    The EDD’s Website includes the Benefits Determination Guide, a detailed discussion of unemployment insurance law divided into eight volumes by topic.  There is also a FAQ section for both employees and employers, and fillable forms.   For employers, there are links to a number of topics including payroll taxes and employee insurance matters.