If you think your employer might not be paying you the correct wage, you may be inclined to file a complaint with the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance in California. This process might seem daunting, especially for someone doing it for the first time, but knowing what to expect and what might be required of you can make your quest for justice a little bit easier.
The first step: Filing a claim
In California, the first step typically entails filing a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the DLSE. The DLSE is responsible for handling wage complaints in the state.
Under employment law, you can file your claim online or in person at a DLSE office. In both cases, you will need to provide some basic information about yourself and your employer, as well as the specifics of your wage complaint.
The second step: The investigation process
After filing, an investigator from the DLSE will be assigned to your case. They will contact you to schedule an interview, during which they will ask you questions about your complaint. They may also ask for additional documentation or information that can be helpful to your case. If they determine that there is enough evidence, they will file a claim on your behalf with the appropriate court.
The third step: The hearing process
If the investigator determines that there is not enough evidence to support your claim, you have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. During this hearing, you and your employer will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue your respective cases.
If the judge rules in your favor, they will order your employer to pay you the back wages you are owed, plus interest. Your employer may also be ordered to pay penalties if they are found to have willfully violated the law.
If the claim goes your way and you get your rightful compensation, you should know that your employer cannot retaliate against you, which means that you can’t be demoted or fired within a specific time frame after the decision. However, if the judge rules against you, you can always appeal their decision to the California Labor Commissioner’s Office and California Court of Appeals.