Review Granted in Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions
Latest Meal and Rest Period Developments

Miles Locker DLSE Departure Is Final

We have learned that Miles Locker, former Chief Counsel of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), who has been on paid leave since mid-2005, has been fired. At a Skelly hearing last Friday, before the chair of OSHAB, Candace Traeger, his prior discipline was upheld in a one-sentence decision. We have not heard any response from Locker or his attorney, Steven Zieff of Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff, but do not be surprised if a lawsuit is filed presently.

Locker was suspended after his attendance at a brown bag luncheon on lunch break rights on July 20, 2005, at a time when the current administration was trying to silence any pro-employee voices at the Department of Industrial Relations. There are ten charges on which the discipline was based, most of which relate to various aspects of the meal/rest break controversies of the past couple of years, including the Kenneth Cole case, the governor's "emergency" regulations, the Abeyance Policy and the Rupp Memo in the "underground regulations" controversy, Westside Concrete and finally, speaking in his personal capacity at the seminar. A number of worker advocates, including several we know, are mentioned in the Notice of Adverse Action as attorneys Locker allegedly "assisted" in litigation against the DLSE, DIR and/or LWDA or to whom Mr. Locker allegedly expressed views contrary to those of agency officials appointed by the new governor.

Boiled down to the purest truth of this action, the Schwarzenegger Administration is punishing Locker for having the audacity (or, as they would call it, the "disloyalty") to continue to try to enforce minimum labor standards for the protection of California workers over the objections of well-funded and generous interest groups such as the California Restaurant Association and the Chamber of Commerce. After sixteen years of of dedicated service as a senior DLSE attorney and countless contributions to California wage and hour law, protecting California workers from employers who refuse to obey the rules, Locker is out.

With Locker gone, Robert Jones is the current Chief Counsel. He also serves as acting Labor Commissioner. A current full organizational chart of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, of which the DLSE is a part, can be viewed here.

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