California Labor Board

Many clients ask, “Should I File a Claim with the Labor Board?”

The California labor commission, also known as The California Labor Board, is a division of the DLSE Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and is charged with maintaining the standards of fair and reasonable working conditions in the State of California. An employee or non-employee can file a complaint with the Labor board regarding conditions in the workplace, but BEFORE DOING SO it is wise to know it has its limitations.

In many ways, the California Labor Board is similar to a small claims court for employees with simpler claims to resolve.   On average, this regulatory body handles much smaller claims than private attorneys (an alternative is small claims court where the limit is $7500).  In my view, this venue should be used only for very small matters that a labor attorney will not handle.

Take a look at some FACT vs. MYTH OF THE LABOR BOARD:

  1.  Myth: The California labor board will pursue all my rights and seek full damages on my behalf.
    Fact: The labor board only pursues a fraction of wages you may be owed and not all penalties on behalf of claimants. For example, a private attorney can pursue up to 4 years of back wages in California, however the Labor Board will only pursue 3 years.
  2. Myth: The California Labor Board will go after the employer individually, if the company closes it doors.
    Fact: Only a private attorney may pursue your claim and attempt to impute personal liability on your employer this function is not carried out by the Labor Board.
  3. Myth: The Labor Board will also collect attorney fees on my behalf.
    Fact: Only a private attorney can collect attorney fees when filing a civil suit.
  4. Myth: Once I win at the Labor Board, I will get a check in the mail from my employer.
    Fact: Employers are able to appeal any ruling and if they do, you will need to start all over and likely need hire a private lawyer, anyway.

When I consider my experiences and those of my clients with the Labor Commission, it must be said that this is a “State run office” who handles an INCREDIBLE number of claims at a time.  That being the case, administrative judges must for efficiency purposes, get cases in fast and get them out.  The danger in this process is that your matter may not thoroughly be examined, and you may not receive all the money you are due!

We highly recommend you speak with a labor lawyer in California who can examine your individual case and help you make the decision that is best for you. Remember, there is no cost to you unless we recover on your case.

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