Julie A. Su
Julie A. Su is the Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Su in January of 2019 to serve as his cabinet advisor on labor issues and employment programs for workers and businesses throughout California.
Secretary Su oversees the state departments and boards that enforce labor laws, including minimum wage and occupational safety standards, provide state disability and unemployment insurance benefits, fund workforce training and apprenticeship programs, combat wage theft, protect injured workers, and arbitrate public sector contract disputes.
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, and is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant.
As California Labor Commissioner from 2011 through 2018, Su enforced the state’s labor laws to ensure a fair and just workplace for both employees and employers. A report on her tenure released in May 2013 found that her leadership has resulted in a renaissance in enforcement activity and record-setting results. In 2014, she launched the first “Wage Theft is a Crime” multi-media, multilingual statewide 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.
Prior to her appointment as California Labor Commissioner, Su was the Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the nation’s largest non-profit civil rights organization devoted to issues affecting the Asian American community. Su is known for pioneering a multi-strategy approach that combines successful impact litigation with multiracial organizing, community education, policy reform, coalition building, and media work.
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.” She 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.