Disputes between employers and employees are common in California. More accurately, disputes between ex-employers and ex-employees are the norm. In California, these disputes go to one of two places. A lawsuit can be filed in California Superior Court by either the employee or employer, or an employee can file a claim with the California Department of Labor.
Many employees choose to file a claim with the Department of Labor, under the assumption that it is more favorable, cheaper, and faster. While it is true that it is cheap and fast, it is not necessarily more favorable. The employee still has the burden of proof to establish their case, and often the employer is represented by counsel, and the employee is self represented. In addition, no matter what the result, a decision by the Department of Labor can be appealed to the Superior Court by the losing party. Therefore, some employees reason that the Superior Court is the ultimate decider of these issues and go to the court first.
Cases filed in court are generally more expensive because they must follow the formal rules of evidence, and most often both sides are represented by legal counsel and thus must pay attorney fees. In addition, the cases move slower.
To determine if a California employer-employee dispute should be filed with the California Department of Labor or in California Superior Court, contact us today, and discuss your case with one of our employment lawyers at our San Francisco office.