Legal news and tips for employees, by Law Office of Eugene Lee

Filing Your Labor Board Complaint

labor board complaint


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Studies show that as many as 4 out of 5 employees are the victims of wage theft.

If you are an employee, your employer is required by law to give you:

Rest Breaks

  • – a 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 3.5 hours in a day
  • – a second 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 6 hours in a day

Meal Breaks

  • – a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a day
  • – a second 30-minute meal break if you work more than 10 hours in a day


  • – time and a half if you work


    • a) more than 8 hours in a day,
    • b) more than 40 hours in a week, or
    • c) seven days in a row in a work week


  • – double time if you work


    • a) more than 12 hours in a day, or
    • b) more than 8 hours on the seventh day in a row in a work week

Last Paycheck

If you have been terminated or laid off, you are entitled to receive your final wages upon termination or on your last day of work.

If you resign, you are entitled to receive your final paycheck within 72 hours after your last day of work.

You final wages must include any unpaid vacation pay (but not sick leave pay).


A manager or supervisor (even if part-time) is not legally allowed to take from your tips or the tip pool. The law treats this as tip theft.

Driving Mileage Reimbursements

If you are required to drive from your employer’s office to a job site, your employer is required to pay you a mileage reimbursement at the IRS standard mileage rate. As of January 1, 2015, that rate is 57.5 cents per mile. If your employer has failed to do this, your claim could be large – thousands of dollars.


Your employer is not permitted to take deductions out of your paycheck unless you have agreed to it in writing. Even if your employer has loaned you money, he cannot make any deductions without your written consent. If this is occurring, you are entitled to recover not only the moneys that were deducted, but any attorney fees you have incurred.


If you complain to your employer or the Labor Board about any of the above wage violations, the law prohibits retaliation against you. Retaliation could include a reduction of your work hours, demotion, pay cuts, suspension, termination, etc. If you are the victim of retaliation, you are entitled to file a retaliation complaint with the California Labor Board.



Filing a wage complaint with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (otherwise known as the Labor Board or DLSE), can take as little as 30 minutes on the phone.

Even if you believe you are owed as little as a few hundred dollars, the penalties that apply under the California Labor Code can be thousands of dollars. Penalties include waiting time penalties, liquidated damages penalties, bounced check penalties, etc.

What You Need to File a Complaint

If you have any of the following documents, please have them ready when you call:

How Long the Complaint Process Takes

Resolving your wage complaint can take as little as a few weeks to as many as a few years. There are many factors involved, including how complicated your complaint is, how backlogged the commissioner and labor board office assigned to your case is, how willing your employer is to settle, whether your employer decides to appeal, etc.

The Steps in the Complaint Process

The first step is to fill out a Form 1 labor board complaint. You will typically need to also fill out a Form 55 attachment that sets out each amount you are owed for each pay period you worked for the employer. If you have a retaliation claim, you will also need to fill out a Form RCI-1.

If you need help with these forms, call us at (213) 992-3299 as the forms can be more complicated than they appear. Incorrect complaints are typically rejected by the labor board and need to be corrected before they can be re-filed. The re-filing process can take weeks or months. We can prepare the forms correctly for you in as little as a few hours.

Next, you need to file your complaint with the correct DLSE office. There are 19 regional DLSE offices assigned to the various cities in California. Which DLSE office you must apply to depends on which city you worked in. Again, this can be trickier than it first seems, as the office that is closest to the city where you worked isn’t always the correct DLSE office to file in. Also DLSE office city assignments are subject to change. Filing with the wrong DLSE office can cause months of delay and often requires that you simply re-file your complaint with the correct DLSE office.

If you need help with this, give us a call at (213) 992-3299. We can ensure your complaints are filed with the correct DLSE office.

After your complaint is filed, you will receive a notice of conference from the labor board, typically in 1 to 2 months. At the conference, which you, your employer, and/or your attorneys are required to attend, the commissioner will ask questions, confirm information, and finalize your labor board complaint, which you will then sign.

After that, the final hearing (trial) takes place, in as little as a few months to as long as 1 year after the conference. You will typically have to request subpoenas from the labor board and have them personally served on your employer and any witnesses to ensure you have the evidence you need to win your trial. At trial, you must present to the hearing officer a copy of all documents and provide all witnesses required to support your claim.

The hearing officer will issue an ODA (order, decision or adjudication) within 15 days after the trial. The parties will then have 10 to 15 days to appeal. If there is an appeal, the whole process starts completely over, except this time, your complaint is transferred from the labor board to a judge in civil court.

If you have won your trial and/or any appeal, you will then be issued a judgment. Then you must begin your collection efforts. The labor board may or may not assist you with collection, depending on your claim and your employer.

If you need assistance with any of the above, give us a call anytime at (213) 992-3299 and talk to an expert now.


DLSE Offices


1515 Clay Street,
Room 401

Oakland, CA 94612

250 Hemsted Drive,
2nd Floor, Suite A

Redding, CA 96002

Santa Ana
605 West Santa Ana Blvd., Bldg. 28,
Room 625

Santa Ana, CA 92701

7718 Meany Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93308

2031 Howe Avenue,
Suite 100

Sacramento, CA 95825

Santa Barbara
411 E. Canon Perdido,
Room 3

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

El Centro
1550 W. Main St.
El Centro, CA 92243

1870 N. Main St.,
Suite 150

Salinas, CA 93906

Santa Rosa
50 “D” Street,
Suite 360

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

770 E. Shaw Avenue,
Ste. 222

Fresno, CA 93710

San Bernardino
464 W. Fourth Street,
Room 348

San Bernardino, CA 92401

31 E. Channel Street,
Room 317

Stockton, CA 95202

Long Beach
300 Oceangate,
Suite 302

Long Beach, CA 90802

San Diego
7575 Metropolitan Dr.,
Room 210

San Diego, CA 92108

Van Nuys
6150 Van Nuys Blvd.,
Room 206

Van Nuys, CA 91401

Los Angeles
320 W. Fourth Street,
Suite 450

Los Angeles, CA 90013

San Francisco
455 Golden Gate Ave.,
10th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94102


1515 Clay Street,
Suite 801

Oakland, CA 94612

San Jose
100 Paseo de San Antonio,
Room 120

San Jose, CA 95113


Law Office of Eugene Lee
555 W 5th St, Ste 3100
Los Angeles, CA

Law Office of Eugene Lee
6 Centerpointe Dr, Ste 700
La Palma, CA 90623

T: (213) 992-3299
F: (213) 596-0487

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