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In California, any employee may file a wage claim against an employer or former employer with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, which is overseen by the State Labor Commissioner. If you are an independent contractor or in a union, the Labor Commissioner may not have jurisdiction over the claim. When employees of public agencies file wage claims, the Labor Commissioner has limited jurisdiction.

The Labor Commissioner has procedures for investigating the wage claim complaints, and may hold a conference or hearing, or both to resolve the issue. In the occasion that a claim is filed that involves a lot of parties and records, the Labor Commissioner’s Office Bureau of Field Enforcement will lead the investigation. If the Bureau of Field Enforcement take over, both parties will be notified by the Deputy handling the claims. Most claims filed are resolved in this stage, either through the hearings or conferences.

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