The first event after filing your wage claim with the Labor Board is usually what they call a “conference.” The conference, which some Labor Commissioner district offices do not conduct (probably because they have too many cases and not enough time or money), is supposed to be an informal meeting between the employer and the employee who filed the wage claim.
Usually, a Deputy Labor Commissioner will attend the conference. The Deputy will ask each party to explain their claims or defenses. He or she will ask to see any evidence that helps or hurts the wage claim.
The Deputy Labor Commissioner does not act as a representative for the employee.
After each side is given an opportunity to speak, the Deputy likely will ask to speak alone to each party. Sometimes the Deputy will put the parties in separate rooms. The Deputy will explain to each party the strengths and weaknesses of their claims or defenses.
The Deputy will then try to settle the claim. He or she will convey offers and counter-offers back and forth between the parties. If the Deputy feels that the case will not settle, he or she will end the conference and tell the parties that a complaint will be filed, after which a hearing will be held. Sometimes, however, if the Deputy feels that the wage claim will fail, the Deputy will say that no complaint will be filed and that the wage claim will be dismissed.
Employees do not need to be represented by a lawyer at the conference. However, the Deputy does not act as a representative for the employee or the employer. The Deputy is supposed to remain neutral. Having a lawyer at the conference can help the employee because experienced wage claim lawyers know the process, how to negotiate, and what your rights are.
If you have a conference scheduled and are unsure about whether you want to represent yourself, contact us now. We dedicate our practice to wage claims. We are very experienced wage claim lawyers. We will give you a free consultation. And we only get paid if we win your case.