The Kaufman Law Firm
The Kaufman Law Firm Represent the victims of Employment and Labor law through out the Westlake Village California. The firm has recovered over $50 million on behalf of wronged employees. Call at 818-990-1999 today.
The Kaufman Law Firm 818-990-1999
4195 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd, Suite 250 Westlake Village CA 91362
Westlake Village
818-990-1999
Los Angeles
310-981-3404

California Labor Commission

You Have Rights As A Worker. I Will Help Protect Them.

Why Californians should sue directly in court rather than file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner

California labor law offers employees two alternatives when making a claim for wages: file a claim in superior court or file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office. At first blush, the Labor commissioner appears a better choice, you can represent yourself , and this is certainly less expensive than hiring an attorney and faster than going to Court. However, theses benefits don’t amount to much if the law is not properly considered or the decision is not properly reasoned.

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

The people who act as the judge in these proceedings do not necessarily know the law. They’re not required to be attorneys and many are not. In more complicated cases, in my experience, the subtleties of wage and hour law are completely glossed over. This may be due to the immense workload of the commissioners, something likely not to improve given California’s budget problems.

The Hearings

At these hearings the rules of evidence do not apply. These rules usually preserve fairness, and when they are disregarded, it ‘s not usually to the employee’s advantage. On occasion, I have seen the California Labor Commissioner require that the rules of evidence be observed for some matters, but not for others.

The Appeals

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!

Practice Areas

Have You Been Wrongfully
Terminated?

Contact the Westlake Village Employment Attorney at the Kaufman Law Firm For a Free Initial Consultation

Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.

To learn more, contact our Westlake Village or Los Angeles law office today and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

Contact us to protect your workplace rights