San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced today that her office has been recognized with an Achievement Award for its new Workplace Justice Unit, from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. [TWEET THIS]
In February, the District Attorney’s Office launched its Workplace Justice Unit, which is dedicated to protecting workers’ rights, prosecuting criminal wage theft cases and stopping labor trafficking. In launching the unit, DA Stephan took into consideration community response and hosted a workplace justice panel in partnership with San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, to identify ways to better-protect workers across the county, many of whom come from minority and disadvantaged communities.
“We accept this national award on behalf of all workers and those who advocate on their behalf. We appreciate the advocates who have trusted our DA Workplace Justice team with the labor abuses committed on workers,” DA Summer Stephan said. “Wage theft and labor trafficking are serious problems that we are working to contain in partnership with the community. We’re not going to allow workers in San Diego County to be exploited by greedy employers who break the law to line their own pockets and this award confirms we are on the right track.”
The DA’s new Workplace Justice Unit is comprised of a dedicated prosecutor, DA investigator and paralegal. The Unit prosecutes unfair business practices, wage and hour violations, payroll tax evasion, wage theft and labor trafficking cases. As part of the formation of the Unit, the DA’s Insurance Fraud Division was re-named the Insurance Fraud and Workplace Justice Division.
To more effectively protect workers and seek equitable workplace justice, the DA’s Office is educating the public on worker rights through a wallet or palm card in English and Spanish and has created a public web page where anyone can obtain information about workplace justice and where victims of workplace crimes can report directly to the District Attorney’s Office. In addition, workers can also email or call the workplace justice hotline to make a report or report claims directly on the DA’s website.
NACo President Gary Moore said, “Over the past year, county officials and frontline employees have demonstrated bold, inspirational leadership. This year’s Achievement Award winning programs illustrate the innovative ways counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.
Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. [TWEET THIS]