Labor Commissioner, State of California
Julie A. Su is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights who has dedicated her distinguished legal career to advancing justice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities. A MacArthur Foundation “Genius,” Su was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown and assumed the position of California Labor Commissioner in April 2011, overseeing over 500 staff in 18 offices across the state. A report on her tenure released in May 2013 found that her leadership has resulted in a renaissance in enforcement activity across the entire Division and record-setting results. In 2014, Su launched the “Wage Theft is a Crime” multi-media, multilingual campaign to reach out to low-wage workers and their employers to help them understand their rights and feel safe speaking up about labor law abuses. It is the first statewide campaign of its kind.
Prior to her appointment as Labor Commissioner for the State of California, Su served as the Litigation Director at Advancing Justice LA, the nation’s largest non-profit civil rights organization devoted to issues affecting the Asian American community. In her 17 years as a civil rights lawyer, Su brought landmark lawsuits resulting in millions of dollars for low-wage workers and policy changes in California and the United States protecting immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking.
Her numerous awards include the Reebok International Human Rights Award (1996); one of four “Pioneers in Women’s History” in an official proclamation by President William Jefferson Clinton (1997); Gruber Foundation International Women’s Rights Prize (2006); a California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation “Champion of Workers Rights” and UC Berkeley Labor Center “Labor Hero” (2013). Frequently named to top-lawyer lists such as the Daily Journal’s “Top 75 Women Litigators” in California and California Lawyer’s “Super Lawyers,” she was the first Labor Commissioner to be included among the Daily Journal‘s “Top 75 Labor and Employment Lawyers” and has also been named one of the 50 most noteworthy women alumni of Harvard Law School and one of the 100 most “influential” people in Los Angeles in Los Angeles Magazine.
Su has taught at UCLA Law School and Northeastern Law School. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School and began her career with a Skadden Fellowship. Su speaks Mandarin and Spanish.