It is pretty common that when you apply for a job for your employer to check your background and references, but how do you check the employer for a history of red flags?
There are several places you can go online to find out various things about an employer to which you are applying.
- For certain industries, an employer must register with the state. If they then violate wage laws, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement will list them online at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSE-Databases.htm. Companies that have to register include garment manufacturers and contractors, farm labor contractors, car washing and polishing companies, talent agencies and services, studio teachers, and some public works contractors.
- You can search California court cases to see if the employer has been sued recently. In Orange County, the site is here. For Los Angeles, here, and for Riverside, here. San Diego is here, and San Bernardino is here. Some courts charge a few dollars to search case names, but finding out that an employer is a repeat offender before you accept a job might just be worth a couple bucks.
- If an employer hasn't paid its taxes – a good sign they might not pay you, either – that can sometimes show up on a Secretary of State search for the company name at http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/.
You can also look at many sites that provide reviews of companies online such as the Better Business Bureau or Yelp, or just by doing a Google search to see what comes up.
The more you know about a company before you start working there, the less likely you are to find yourself stuck working for the kind of company you would rather avoid.