Filing a Labor Board Complaint in CA

If an employer in California mistreats you or violates your rights as a worker, you have the right to file a complaint with one of several state agencies, commonly referred to as the labor board. Most employee complaints will go to either the Labor Commissioner’s Office or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Find out how to file a labor board complaint in California, with or without assistance from an employment lawyer.

Claims Handled by the DLSE

The Labor Commissioner’s Office in California is in charge of enforcing the state’s labor laws. For this reason, its other name is the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). The DLSE investigates many different types of employment law complaints throughout California.

  • Wage violations, such as failure to pay minimum wage
  • Overtime violations
  • Vacation and benefits pay problems
  • Nonpayment of wages or wage theft
  • Work hour infractions
  • Child labor law violations
  • Meal and rest break violations
  • Retaliation
  • Failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance

If a DLSE investigation finds an employer guilty of a labor law infraction, the division can force the employer to correct the problem and obey the law in the future. The employer will also have to pay civil penalties and any past wages owed to wronged workers.

Claims Handled by the DFEH

You might need to take your claim to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) instead if you suffered a civil rights violation at work. The DFEH primarily protects workers in California from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. It is a civil rights agency available to help wronged employees investigate and seek compensation for alleged infractions at work. The DFEH takes cases involving many types of civil rights violations.

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation for reporting civil rights violations

You may have grounds to file a claim with the DFEH if an employer has discriminated against you based on your age, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy status, nationality, race, country of origin, disability or another protected class. The DFEH can also help if you’ve faced physical, emotional or sexual harassment or abuse at work. An employer guilty of a civil rights violation in California may have to pay fines and restitution.

Follow the Agency’s Process

If you wish to seek professional help from the DLSE or the DFEH, go online or contact the organization you wish to use to learn more about its filing process. With the DLSE, you can file a Report of Labor Law Violation online or download and print the form to submit it via mail to the nearest Labor Commissioner’s office. If you need to seek unpaid wages from an employer, you will need to submit a separate wage claim as well.

You have three different options for filing a claim with the DFEH for a civil rights violation. You can create an account with the Cal Civil Rights System and file online, print out the DFEH’s intake form and mail it to the headquarters in Elk Grove, or you can call (800) 884-1684 to speak to someone from the DFEH over the phone. Follow each agency’s instructions exactly for the best chances of a successful employment law claim.

When to Get Help From a California Employment Lawyer

Protecting your rights as an employee in California can be difficult – especially if your employer is engaging in unlawful business practices. If you are the victim of a wage and hour violation or civil rights infraction, take action against the company with assistance from an employment lawyer.

You may need to hire a lawyer to represent you if you have a complicated case involving serious or expensive losses, criminal actions, retaliation, wrongful termination, or a denied claim by the DLSE or DFEH. A Los Angeles employment lawyer can help you go up against a wrongful employer to demand justice.