Many of my clients receive complaints filed with the Labor Commissioner’s office here in Sacramento. These complaints can be costly, both in terms of money and time spent participating in the Labor Commissioner process.
Typically an employer’s first notice of a complaint with the Labor Commissioner will come in the form of a Notice of Claim and Conference.
The Notice of Claim and Conference provides basic information about the complaint, including the name of the plaintiff, a brief overview of the claim itself, and the date and time of the Conference.
The Labor Commissioner Conference can best be thought of as a settlement conference. It is not a formal hearing. The Deputy Labor Commissioner will hear from both sides of the issue and will attempt to mediate an informal resolution.
In practice, the Deputy Labor Commissioner may add additional claims to the complaint after they interview the plaintiff. This can be very frustrating to the defendant because the defendant is often caught off-guard regarding the new claims being made on the spot.
When considering whether to settle the case at this initial stage, a defendant must weigh the seriousness of the claims with the amount of money being demanded by the plaintiff.
Again, at the conference, no formal decisions will be made by the Labor Commissioner’ss office. It is just an opportunity to get the parties to settle the case without the need for a formal hearing.
At the conference, a defendant is free to propose any settlement terms that he or she wants. This may include the ability to pay a certain amount of money over time, a confidentiality agreement, or a demand that the plaintiff dismiss other pending claims.
Or, if the employer believes that they did not do anything wrong, they can refuse to settle and demand a hearing.
Right now, hearings in the Sacramento Labor Commissioner’s office are being set 10 months after the conference. This fact can be used against a plaintiff to get them to accept a lesser settlement amount immediately, as opposed to rolling the dice on a hearing 10 months down the road.
If you are a defendant in a Labor Commissioner case, I am confident that I can assist you bring the case to resolution. Please contact my office at (916) 333-2222.