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If your employer is engaging in unfair labor practices, there are typically two options available to you: hire an attorney or file a claim with the California labor commissioner.
The California Labor Board has the power to investigate claims that workers are treated fairly under federal and state law, and related to unpaid wages & overtime, meal & rest period violations, and certain other labor code violations.
If you file a California labor board claim, you may not be able to require your employer to provide the evidence you need to prove the violation occurred.
Even if you win at the labor commissioner, your employer may appeal the decision to a trial court, in which case you would have to essentially win your case twice before you would be entitled to any recovery.
The statute of limitations for labor board cases for unpaid wages generally tops out at 3 years, whereas an attorney can often extend many claims to 4 years. This can allow you to recover one additional year’s worth of unpaid wages & overtime.
Labor board claims are not eligible for civil penalties under California law. Only filing a lawsuit can allow aggrieved employees to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, as well as other similarly situated employees with the company, pursuant to California’s Private Attorney General Act.
The California Labor Board has experienced severe budget cuts in recent years, which means that there are now fewer labor board employees working on many more cases at a time. The impact of these budget cuts cause claims to be processed much slower, and claimants may even have difficulty speaking to a labor board employee regarding their claim.
However, in some cases the size of your claim may be too small to justify the time and expense of hiring an attorney. At Cunningham Law, APC, we will discuss the individual circumstances of your case and help you make the best decision possible on how to recover the money you are owed.