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How Do I File a Complaint Against My Employer? – Alternatives to Filing a Lawsuit

Though Your Union

If you are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, or a union contract, you can file a grievance with your union regarding violations of the law as well as violations of the contract. Filing a grievance through your union is usually preferable to filing a lawsuit through the court, as it saves time and money.

There are special rules for wage and hour claims brought to the California labor commissioner by workers who are under a union contract. For example, while the California labor commissioner enforces claims regarding state law violations as well as claims of loss of pay due to unsafe working conditions, the labor commissioner generally avoids claims involving the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. However, if the collective bargaining agreement does not have a binding arbitration procedure regarding wage claims, the labor commissioner can enforce the claim. Additionally, the labor commissioner can enforce wage claims for workers who are bound by an arbitration contract if the worker was employed by a private contractor on the construction of “public works.”

The time limit to file a grievance under a union contract is usually short. Check your union’s collective bargaining agreement to find out what your time limit is. 

Through the State Labor Commissioner

If you are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you can take your claim to the California Labor Commission. The Commission enforces California labor laws, investigates employee complaints, and initiates hearings on wage and hour violations.

The violations heard include: failure to pay wages or overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, unauthorized paycheck deductions, worker retaliation, and misrepresentation of the conditions of employment.

The labor commissioner will generally not hear claims if a) your job is covered by a collective bargaining agreement that contains a binding arbitration clause, or b) you are a public employee, since most laws and regulations that the labor commissioner enforce do not apply to public employees.

Through An Enforcement Agency

Workers can bring complaints to government enforcement agencies such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The DFEH handles complaints covered by California’s anti-discrimination laws and requires all parties to participate in a dispute resolution process before bringing civil claims to court. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division deals with complaints such as failure to pay overtime.

The time limit to file a claim with agencies vary from a month to a year, so it is important to act fast to preserve your rights.

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Worker Awarded Over 1 Million in Race Harassment Case

Caltrans Maintenance Worker Awarded Over 1 Million Judgment in Race Harassment Case

A Los Angeles jury on Friday awarded $1,000,000 in emotional distress damages to a Caltrans maintenance worker represented by Law Offices of Kyle Todd, who faced a barrage of racial harassment by co-workers, including being called the N-word and having a mock noose hung in front of him.

Caltrans maintenance worker Tracy Scudder began working for Caltrans in 2006, and soon after, his co-workers began belittling him for listening to “jungle music,” shouting orders in his face, and calling him “boy.” In 2009, Caltrans wrote up one worker for using the N-word and for shoving Scudder, but no further discipline occurred, and Caltrans continued to assign Scudder to work alongside the same individuals.

Throughout the years, Scudder complained to multiple supervisors, his union, and even took advantage of Caltrans’ internal Discrimination Complaint Investigation Unit. Still, Scudder continued being assigned to work with his harassers until 2015, when Caltrans finally transferred him to a different work crew. Meanwhile, Scudder’s harassers were promoted during the pendency of the case.

Scudder was represented by Kyle Todd and Maximilian Lee of the Law Offices of Kyle Todd. The jury’s award of $1,000,000 for emotional distress damages will be compounded by attorneys’ fees, in an amount to be decided by the Court. For now, Scudder has received the vindication he has been awaiting for 12 years.

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Kyle Todd – Employment Lawyer of 2018

2018 International Advisory Experts Awards Kyle Todd as Employment Lawyer of the Year in California

The Law Offices of Kyle Todd is proud to announce that Kyle Todd, Esq. has been chosen for the 2018 International Advisory Experts Awards as Employment Lawyer of the Year in California.

The International Advisory Experts (IAE) is a global alliance of well-established and experienced legal, financial and consulting firms that are committed to providing clients with specialist solutions for their international business requirements. IAE’s annual awards pay tribute to firms who have been successful over the past twelve months and have received exceptional praise from their peers. All nominees are researched by IAE’s research team and group members and potential winner shortlists are created for each jurisdiction and IAE publications. All nominees are then analyzed by an independent panel and winners are chosen and informed. More about the organization can be found here.