CALIFORNIA DIVISION OF LABOR STANDARDS ENFORCEMENT (DLSE) CLAIMS
The DLSE: Employee Complaints and Workplace Discrimination
In addition to maintaining supervisory authority over labor standards and the issuance of permits and certification, the DLSE is also the California government agency before which employees can file claims against their current or former employer. Employees are permitted to seek wages and penalties for up to three years back from the filing date of the claim. Such claims typically include, but are not limited to, the following matters:
- Unpaid employee wages.
- Vacation time and overtime.
- Business travel expenses.
- Late fees for nonpayment.
- Meal and rest period violations.
The DLSE also doubles as the California version of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Disgruntled employees can and will file discrimination complaints with the DLSE, including but not limited to complaints involving:
Employees often choose to file a claim with the DLSE, as it is cheaper and faster than filing a lawsuit in Superior Court. Additionally, the DLSE will help employees with their claims, so employees may not need to retain a California labor law attorney.
The DLSE also handles retaliation complaints, in which a former employee alleges that his or her employer took any improper actions in response to the employee’s conduct. Employer conduct which potentially constitutes retaliation includes firing, suspending, demoting, or otherwise disciplining an employee because the employee gave information to a government agency or “blew the whistle” on workplace conditions, alleged wage violations, and so forth.
Employees generally have up to six months to file a retaliation claim, counting down from the date the violation supposedly occurred. However, complaints involving certain Health and Safety Code violations must be filed within 90 days, while complaints pertaining to certain parts of the Labor Code may be filed up to a full year after the incident.
If your business is on the receiving end of one of these complaints, be prepared to commit to a time-consuming process. Unfortunately, the procedures through which the DLSE handles the former employee’s case are quite lengthy, sometimes taking up to nine months. Working with an attorney can help to keep the process as streamlined and time-efficient as possible.
The DLSE has prosecutorial powers over businesses it believes are violating the California Labor Code — as well as the ability to award extensive penalties and pursue judgments on employees’ behalves. Having an experienced employment law attorney on your side can increase your business’ chances of obtaining the desired outcome while protecting your company’s bottom line and professional reputation.
Commercial Lawyers for Business Defense
Bellatrix PC has helped a number of California business entities fight DLSE claims against former employees. While it is often best to negotiate toward a mutually agreeable settlement during the DLSE conference, Bellatrix PC is prepared to see the claim through to the end, including prepping and representing your business at the DLSE hearing (trial) before the Labor Commissioner.
In addition to handling litigation matters, an experienced commercial attorney from Bellatrix PC can handle all of your business’ day-to-day legal needs. By establishing an ongoing relationship with our firm, we can act as outsourced general counsel for all of your company’s legal questions and regulatory concerns. Establishing a relationship with experienced counsel can ensure that when an issue or lawsuit arises, your company will know where to turn for dependable legal advice.
To begin discussing your compliance or regulatory concerns in a confidential legal consultation, call our law offices today at (800) 449-8992. Ask about our Business Risk Review and address simmering issues before they explode and take the business with it.