California Labor CommissionArticle by Matthew A. Kaufman, Esq.
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Californians should sue directly in court rather than file a claim
with the California Labor Commissioner
Generally, in my experience, employees who file with the Labor
Commissioner's Office do not do as well as employees who sue directly
in superior court. Here are several reasons why.
The California Labor Commissioner
Basically, the decision of the California Labor Commissioner does not count. The loser can appeal 'de novo' to the superior court, and this means that the case is given a whole new trial. At the superior court level, the decision of the commissioners is entitled to no weight whatsoever, and the facts presented to the trial court may include entirely new evidence.
Attorney's Fees Award
When employees sue in superior court for minimum wages or overtime, if the employer wins, the employer cannot get an award of fees and costs against the employee. However in 'de novo' trials in superior court, the employer can. This can be a significant liability.
Exceptions to the Rule
Like everything, there are exceptions to the rule. In some cases, I have advised people to file in the Labor Commissioner's office. Many Labor Commissioners are quite good and some times the lack of procedural rules works to the employee's advantage. If your case is really simple, and you can avoid any nuance in the law, then the Labor Commissioner's office may offer a less expensive and much faster alternative to court. I would consult with an attorney before deciding to file with the Ca Labor commission.
Good luck with your case!
About The Kaufman Law Firmrecovering millions of dollars for employees
THE KAUFMAN LAW FIRM is a California employment law firm that's dedicated to representing employees in disputes against their employers regarding discrimination. Matthew A. Kaufman is an experienced labor lawyer and has had numerous trials, arbitrations, and appeals, and has litigated on behalf of thousands of employees. He's recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients in more than 50 class action lawsuits.
Mr. Kaufman has represented workers in state and federal court and in administrative proceedings before the California Labor Commissioner. Determined and aggressive, his cases include individual disputes and class action lawsuits. The law firm is based in Sherman Oaks, California and serves greater Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County and has cases statewide.
If you need experienced representation by an employment lawyer who will fight passionately for your rights, please contact Mr. Kaufman at 818-990-1999 or email him here.