(a) The Labor Commissioner shall enforce this article, including investigating an alleged violation, and ordering appropriate temporary relief to mitigate the violation or to maintain the status quo pending the completion of a full investigation or hearing.
(b) (1) If the Labor Commissioner, after a hearing that contains adequate safeguards to ensure that the parties are afforded due process, determines that a violation of this article has occurred, he or she may order any appropriate relief, including reinstatement, backpay, the payment of sick days unlawfully withheld, and the payment of an additional sum in the form of an administrative penalty to an employee or other person whose rights under this article were violated.
(2) If paid sick days were unlawfully withheld, the dollar amount of paid sick days withheld from the employee multiplied by three, or two hundred fifty dollars ($250), whichever amount is greater, but not to exceed an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), shall be included in the administrative penalty.
(3) If a violation of this article results in other harm to the employee or person, such as discharge from employment, or otherwise results in a violation of the rights of the employee or person, the administrative penalty shall include a sum of fifty dollars ($50) for each day or portion thereof that the violation occurred or continued, not to exceed an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000).
(c) Where prompt compliance by an employer is not forthcoming, the Labor Commissioner may take any appropriate enforcement action to secure compliance, including the filing of a civil action. In compensation to the state for the costs of investigating and remedying the violation, the commissioner may order the violating employer to pay to the state a sum of not more than fifty dollars ($50) for each day or portion of a day a violation occurs or continues for each employee or other person whose rights under this article were violated.
(d) An employee or other person may report to the Labor Commissioner a suspected violation of this article. The commissioner shall encourage reporting pursuant to this subdivision by keeping confidential, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, the name and other identifying information of the employee or person reporting the violation. However, the commissioner may disclose that person's name and identifying information as necessary to enforce this article or for other appropriate purposes, upon the authorization of that person.
(e) The Labor Commissioner or the Attorney General may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the employer or other person violating this article and, upon prevailing, shall be entitled to collect legal or equitable relief on behalf of the aggrieved as may be appropriate to remedy the violation, including reinstatement, backpay, the payment of sick days unlawfully withheld, the payment of an additional sum, not to exceed an aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000), as liquidated damages in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) to each employee or person whose rights under this article were violated for each day or portion thereof that the violation occurred or continued, plus, if the employer has unlawfully withheld paid sick days to an employee, the dollar amount of paid sick days withheld from the employee multiplied by three; or two hundred fifty dollars ($250), whichever amount is greater; and reinstatement in employment or injunctive relief; and further shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs, provided, however, that any person or entity enforcing this article on behalf of the public as provided for under applicable state law shall, upon prevailing, be entitled only to equitable, injunctive, or restitutionary relief, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
(f) In an administrative or civil action brought under this article, the Labor Commissioner or court, as the case may be, shall award interest on all amounts due and unpaid at the rate of interest specified in subdivision (b) of Section 3289 of the Civil Code.
(g) The remedies, penalties, and procedures provided under this article are cumulative.
(h) An employer shall not be assessed any penalty or liquidated damages under this article due to an isolated and unintentional payroll error or written notice error that is a clerical or an inadvertent mistake regarding the accrual or available use of paid sick leave. In reviewing for compliance with this section, the factfinder may consider as a relevant factor whether the employer, prior to an alleged violation, has adopted and is in compliance with a set of policies, procedures, and practices that fully comply with this section.
(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 317, Sec. 3.)