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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My employer in CA. recently made me sign a document that explained

Resolved Question:

My employer in CA. recently made me sign a document that explained their internal "Grievance Procedure for Employees". This document lists a long and timely grievance process. My question is do I need to adhere to this BEFORE filing a wage claim with California Labour Commissioner and/or filing a law suit. The complaint is on overdue wages. Thanks.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Assuming that your employer is not a government entity, it typically cannot limit an employee's right to pursue remedies through the Department of Fair Labor Standards or other state enforcement agencies. In fact, the DLSE might severly punish an employer who attempts to curtail employee rights in such a manner.

To file a wage claim with California's Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Please abide by the honor code of this website by kindly clicking on the GREEN ACCEPT button if my answer has been helpful to you. Thank you very much.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7215
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your qualified response. Would you kindly explain the exceptions?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
As I re-read my answer I can see how I may have given the impression there are some contingencies. Forgive me for that. As lawyers, we never like to make definitive, absolute statements about the law because the courts can always develop new exceptions and things a`re rarely concrete.

That said, I am aware on NO exception to the general rule that employees cannot waive their right to pursue claims with the DLSE. In February of last year, California courts specifically confirmed this point in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc., v. Moreno, S174475, which held that an employer cannot require an employee to waive his or her right to pursue wage claims through the DLSE. http://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/sonic-calabasas-inc-v-moreno-33953

I hope that this clarifies my response and I apologize for any confusion whatsoever. Very best regards XXXXX XXXXX your weekend.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7215
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just a followup: can employees waIve (or rather made to waive) their rights to pursue legal action in court due to unpaid wages?
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and good morning. The answer to your followup question is "yes," an employer can waive his or her right to pursue a wage claim in court and be forced to arbitrate it instead. That said, the employee CANNOT waive their right to FIRST pursue the claim through the DLSE and get an initial (appealable) decision from an administrative judge with the DLSE.

The Sonic-Calabasas case that I cited above actually addresses this exact issue. It's quite a long read, but you might want to take a look at it for more information.

Have a very nice weekend!

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