In California, an employee has a few options for filing a work related grievance. When it is a wage and hour matter, the employee can sue in court or file a complaint with California’s Labor Commissioner. The Labor Commissioner is the Chief of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), which is part of California’s Department of Industrial Relations.
The mission of the DLSE is, in part, to vigorously enforce minimum labor standards in order to ensure employees are not required or permitted to work under substandard unlawful conditions. The DLSE has jurisdiction to resolve employee complaints about wage and hour matters, among other things. Wage and hour matters include an employee’s claims for unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, missed meals and rest periods, waiting time penalties, minimum wage violations, and other related matters.
DLSE claims are handled administratively, meaning the process takes place in a less formal setting than the Superior Court. However, the informality should not make the employer let its guard down. On the contrary, employers that attend DLSE hearings without an attorney often are unprepared to defend themselves and regularly wind up with a result they did not expect.
Continue reading →