Our San Diego Employment Law Lawyer Explains the Rules
Wage and hour claims may occur when an employee accuses his or her employer of withholding wages or having paid the employee improper wages during their employment. There are a number of reasons why a current or former employee may claim a company has taken his or her wages. While, many unpaid wage claims arise when an employee quits or is terminated, claims can also arise during an employee’s employment. In either case, employers may need to defend themselves before the California Labor Commissioner , specifically the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
California employment lawyer Evan A. Gould can help businesses who are facing unpaid wage claims. Continue reading to learn more about wage and hour claims in California or call us for a consultation.
What Happens During a Wage Claim in California?
It depends. The Labor Commissioner does not have the authority to oversee certain types of claims. You can learn more about which claims the DLSE has jurisdiction over on our website or you can contact us with questions.
If the commissioner has the authority to oversee a claim, then it may require either a Conference pursuant to Section 98.3, a Hearing pursuant to Section 98(a), or both. The DSLE resolves a majority of claims through the conference process. A conference can establish whether it is necessary to hold a hearing. It is highly recommended to work with an attorney if you are already this far along in the process or in any hearing before the DLSE. Should the claim ultimately be set for a hearing, attorney Evan Gould can help you to prepare a proper defense and determine what documentation may help you prevail over a wage claim in California.
What Should I Do if I Receive Notice of a Wage Claim or Lawsuit?
You should begin collecting evidence immediately and consider contacting an employment law attorney immediately. An attorney can work with you to collect employee time logs, employee and payroll records and other documents that may minimize your potential liability or defend against the claim. Of course, you should resist any temptation to alter, destroy or manufacture any evidence.
Examples of Some Defenses and Strategies
There are a couple of possible defense options for a wage claim. If a check bounced for example, it may be possible to show unpaid wages were not intentional.
Additionally, it helps to establish proof your business complied with the requirements under Labor Code Section 2810.5. Proving that you kept accurate payroll and time records can also help during the process.
The DSLE will notify you within 30 days of the next steps in the process, such as whether there will be a conference or hearing. Settlement discussions may also be appropriate. It is important to choose an employment lawyer who has experience mediating, arbitrating or settling employment law claims . Additionally, an attorney can help create a legally binding settlement agreement that would prohibit a former employee from bringing additional wage claims. Well-drafted settlement agreements may include a confidentiality provision and or non-disparagement agreement.
An employment law attorney can represent you should a hearing be necessary. You can learn more about what happens during a wage claim hearing on our site or during a consultation with us.
Contact Our San Diego Employment Law Lawyer
Questions about handling a wage claim in California? Contact San Diego employment law attorney Evan Gould. You can schedule a consultation with us by dialing (619) 941-0667 or by using the contact form on our site.