If you’re wondering, “Do I need to file a Claim with the California Labor Board?” We can help you decide.
The California Labor Board (CLB), also known officially as The California labor commission, is a branch of the DLSE (Department of Labor Standards Enforcement). The CLB is in charge of maintaining specific standards of fair and reasonable conditions at work for employees in California. Any employee or even non-employee witness can make a complaint against an employer with the CLB regarding conditions at the workplace. BEFORE YOU FILE, know the Labor Board’s limitations.
In some ways, the CLB is like a small claims court for employees. Those with simple/small issues to resolve can use the CLB rather than a private attorney. In my experience, this venue http://www.dir.ca.gov/ should be limited to very small matters which a labor lawyer will not handle. Keep in mind, it is a government agency and can be slow, frustrating and sometimes unpredictable.
Myth: The CLB will protect all my rights and pursue full damages on my behalf.
Fact: The labor board will only pursue a fraction of the wages and penalties you could be owed. A private attorney can file for up to 4 years of back wages plus penalties, while the Labor Board will only seek 3 years.
Myth: The California Labor Board will pursue your employer individually, if the company is shut down.
Fact: Only a private attorney can continue your claim and seek to impute direct liability on your employer, i.e. if your company closes and open under a new name to avoid suits from former employees. The California Labor Board will not.
Myth: The Labor Board will collect attorney fees from the employer on my behalf.
Fact: Only when filing a case with a private attorney can you collect attorney fees when you file a civil suit.
Myth: As soon as I win my Labor Board hearing, my employer will send me a check.
Fact: Your employer is allowed to appeal any ruling; if they do you will have to start all over! Most likely you will end up needing a private lawyer, anyway.
It must be said that the Labor Commission is a “State run office”; they handle an INCREDIBLE number of claims every day. For the sake of efficiency alone, administrative judges have little choice but to process cases as quickly as possible. The danger in this being that your issue may not be thoroughly examined, as a consequence you are likely to receive less money than you are owed.
I highly recommend you consult UELG who will carefully examine your individual claims, helping you make the decisions that best serve you. Remember, there is never a cost to you unless we recover an award on your claim.