California Busts Auto Body Shops for Lack of Workers' Comp

Several California government agencies issued $21,000 in penalties after a 2-day enforcement sweep of auto body shops in Sacramento and Yolo counties to check for employer compliance with workers' compensation requirements and other state workplace rules.

The unannounced sweep was conducted by the California Department of Industrial Relations' Divisions of Labor Standards Enforcement and Occupational Safety and Health, in cooperation with the Department of Insurance, and the Sacramento and Yolo County District Attorney's offices.

The enforcement sweep was conducted as a follow-up to a sweep conducted around this time last year. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued a total of $21,000 in penalties to companies not having workers' compensation coverage.

"In California, workers' compensation is required as a means of protection for employees who may be injured on the job," Labor Commissioner Donna M. Dell explained. "The multi-agency approach is a very powerful enforcement tool to leverage government resources and encourage compliance by those who seek an unfair economic advantage when not following the law. Greater steps are being taken to focus enforcement efforts to address these issues in the underground economy."

During the enforcement sweep, teams of investigators from the partner agencies visited 31 auto body shops. Of those, 11 companies received citations for workers' compensation violations, amounting to $21,000 in total penalties.

Five companies were targeted because of past workers' compensation violations; three were found to be repeat offenders with no workers' compensation insurance.

The Department of Insurance and the respective district attorney's offices may pursue criminal charges.

"Our enforcement actions are meant to level the playing field for responsible employers who are at a disadvantage from unscrupulous operators," Dell said. "These enforcement actions also are an opportunity to educate employers and employees on their rights and responsibilities under the law."

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