What Happens After Filing a Wage Claim?
After the claim is assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner (deputy), he or she will determine, based on the circumstances of the claim, how best to proceed.
Within thirty (30) days of the filing of the complaint, the deputy shall notify the parties as to the specific action which will initially be taken regarding the claim:
referral to a Settlement Conference
referral to a Hearing
Dismissal of the claim
Attend a Settlement Conference
A settlement conference will be scheduled for most claims. The purpose of the conference is to determine if the claim can be resolved without a hearing.
The conference will be conducted informally and the parties will not be under oath. Plaintiffs are not required to prove their case at the conference. But the parties should be prepared to talk with the deputy about the claim, including whether there are any witnesses.
However, the parties do not need to bring witnesses to the conference. Plaintiffs should bring a copy (not the original) of any document that supports the claim, but should not bring documents that have already been submitted with the claim form. Defendants should also bring any documents that support their position.
Attend A Hearing
If your claim is not resolved during the Settlement Conference, a hearing will be scheduled by the Deputy Labor Commissioner (deputy).
During the hearing, you and your employer will testify under oath and submit evidence about the claim. You are responsible for proving that your employer owes you wages.
The Hearing officer will not have any supporting documentation that you previously provided to the labor Commissioner, so you must submit all of your evidence at the hearing.
To Prepare for a Hearing
Review your claim information, such as the hours you worked and how much you were paid, and prepare notes and a timeline of events that you can review during the hearing.
Bring at least three sets of copies to the hearing of any
documents that support your claim so that you can refer to
them and provide copies to the Hearing officer and your employer.
If you have witnesses who can testify to support your claim,
make sure they can attend the hearing.
You have the right to question the defendants and any of their witnesses. Prepare a list of possible questions in advance.
Review the Decision
After the hearing, you will receive a decision called an Order, Decision or Award (“ODA”). The ODA will explain the Labor Commissioner’s decision and the amount (if any) that the employer must pay.
If neither side appeals within 10 days of the ODA, the decision will become final and enforceable as a court judgment.
Get Help if your Employer Appeals
If your employer appeals, the Superior Court will hear the case without reviewing the decision of the Labor Commissioner. You and your employer will have to present your evidence and testimony again.
You will receive a Request for Attorney Representation and a form called Claimant’s Financial Status. Low-income workers may use these forms to request free representation from one of the Labor Commissioner’s attorneys. If you appeal the decision, you may represent yourself or hire an attorney.