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DLSE hearing questions (waiting time penalty) California

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  • DLSE hearing questions (waiting time penalty) California

    Hi all,

    Previous threads on this here:

    I filed a waiting time penalty complaint with the California DLSE in January 2007. The penalty is for my final check, which I received 12 days after my last day (I quit with more than 72 hours notice). The DLSE sent a complaint notice to my previous employer in April 2007 and gave them 10 days to either send a check for the full amount or to dispute the penalty. After not hearing anything for more than a month, I contacted the DLSE again in June, and apparently my previous employer ignored the notice. The DLSE sent me a form to fill out, and after returning it they sent me a notice of a hearing set for August 1, and they also notified my previous employer.

    I got a call from a claim processor at the DLSE earlier this week. Apparently my previous employer finally contacted them and claimed I had agreed to not receive my check on my last day, and the DLSE wanted my side of the story. I *never* agreed to this. On my last day I was basically told that they didn't have a check for me and that they thought it would be direct-deposited on the next pay cycle. I didn't know the law at the time and I felt like there was nothing I could do, but I did not give them explicit permission to delay the check. When the next pay cycle came and nothing was direct-deposited into my account, I contacted my previous employer and was told they were mailing me a paper check. I finally received the check 12 days after my last day.

    My questions:

    1) I'm not too familiar with the whole process, but I thought we would go to a DLSE conference before the hearing. Is this standard, or does it signify anything?
    2) Are there any implications for my previous employer since they ignored the first notice? I imagine this would work in my favor. Is this the reason we're skipping the conference?
    3) How will the DLSE view the claim that I agreed to the delay? What kind of evidence will they require to refute this?
    4) What else do I need to know to prepare for the hearing? I've read extensively on this board but haven't found much information on how these hearings work. What kind of evidence should I bring? Should I subpoena any witnesses to appear?

    Thanks everyone for your continued advice. I'm planning on posting an update and outcome after my hearing, so others can hopefully benefit.

  • #2
    Did you ever go to your hearing? Can you share your experience. I'm going to mine next week and would love to know how it works


    • #3
      Actually, my hearing was rescheduled for next week also, so I haven't been yet either. I'll post an update after the hearing, just for those curious about the process.


      • #4
        Originally posted by needshelp9 View Post
        Did you ever go to your hearing? Can you share your experience. I'm going to mine next week and would love to know how it works
        I had my hearing a couple of months ago. Here are some quick observations:

        Firstly, it is imperative that you bring 3 copies of each piece of documentary evidence you wish to enter into the record -- one for you, one for the hearing officer, one for the defendant. Make copies of anything you think MIGHT be relevant and put it into a binder so that you can refer to it if necessary.

        The hearing takes place in an environment where the hearing officer theoretically knows nothing about your case in advance. They bring you into a room where you and the defendant will each sit in front of a microphone. Across from you will be the hearing officer who will start the hearing by letting you know that the whole process is being recorded and by asking both the plaintiff and the defendant a series of high-level factual questions (your name, your position, your dates of employment, etc.). In my case, they asked for our business cards.

        The hearing officer in my case started with me -- the plaintiff. She asked me to basically tell the whole wage story from start to finish, introducing my documentary evidence as each piece of evidence became relevant to my narrative. I furnished my employment contract, emails between me and my former employer, etc.

        When I was done, the hearing officer turned to the defendant and asked a series of questions based on my testimony and allowed the defendant to ask questions of me. The hearing officer then went on to ask for a similar narrative from the defendant, and allowed me to cross-examine the defendant. (I declined.) At one point in the defendant's testimony, I asked the hearing officer if I could interrupt -- not to dispute anything the defendant was saying, but because I had realized as I looked over my notes that I had misspoken with regard to a particular date I referred to in my own testimony. She allowed me to make the correction.

        That was about it. The hearing officer was cool as a cucumber, and did not give any hint (by way of her tone of voice or her facial expression) which side she was leaning towards. As the hearing ended, she informed us that she was legally obligated to make her decision within 15 days (which she did not do -- it was more like 30), and we were done.

        Hope this helps. Good luck!


        • #5
          this is very helpful, thanks rippedoffinca!


          • #6
            My hearing was today...

            I just had my hearing this morning. My experience was almost identical to rippedoffinca's experience. I (the plaintiff) went first. The Judge stated that she had not read the file and to tell the story from the beginning, thoroughly. That part really bothered me. They don't acquaint themselves with your case AT ALL?
            Unfortunately, I did not make three copies of my documents, so I had to allow my former boss to read through all of my documents before I was even able to present my case. I think it gave her the upper hand, knowing what to expect. My element of surprise was ruined. I wish they would state on their mailer that you should bring three copies. My former boss didn't provide me with a copy of her response at the conference, so I figured I didn't have to provide her with my documents at the hearing. WRONG! MAKE THREE COPIES, PEOPLE!
            Afterwards, I realized that the judge had not mentioned anything about my employer paying penalties for never providing me paystubs during my five years of employment. ($50 each offense, up to $4,000) So, I would suggest that you make sure everything is being addressed.
            Be prepared for your former boss' to LIE. Mine contradicted things that she said, tried to twist around things to make me look like I was being dishonest... I hope that the judge realizes that the accusations make absolutely no sense... nor do they have any evidence to back them up... Most importantly, Keep your cool! Do not interrupt your employer under any circumstances. Wait for your turn to respond.
            You might want to write out a list of facts you want to address- and questions you can ask your employer. Just so you don't forget anything.
            Good luck with your hearings!!!


            • #7
              Do you realize that the previous posts are from 2007 and the hearings are long since over?
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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