What is a Notice of Claim and Conference?
So you have owned a business in California for some time. There have been some ups and downs but for the most part you have beaten the odds and created a nice business that is striving.
But one day out of the blue, you get a notice in the mail from the Labor Commissioner of California. A Notice of Claim and Conference is what you will receive when a current or former employee has made a claim (usually a wage claim) against your business. It means that the decision has been made by the Deputy Commissioner to pursue further action on the claim made by the employee.
Basically within 30 days of the employee filing the complain the commissioner is going to decide on one of 3 things for the claim.
- Refer the claim to a conference
- Refer the claim to a hearing
- Dismiss the claim altogether
The notice you receive will include:
- Order to appear before the California Labor Commissioner.
- A State Case number.
- A Date, Place and Time that you are to appear.
- The claim being made against you and by whom.
At some point in the life of your business, you will likely have to answer to a notice of claim and conference and whether you like it or not, you will need to respond to it. Because of this, it is very important for you to get ahead of the issue and prepare for the situation.
A good way to start preparing is to read this article and follow the steps provided!
Having knowledge on how to handle things gives you an edge compared to those employers who panic at the moment they have received a notice of claim and conference. These employers may end up making the wrong decisions and appearing at the conference unprepared. As a result, they really increase their chances of having a negative outcome in the hearing.
You don’t want to be one of these employers right?
So the question left is,
How do you prepare for a notice of claim and conference?
First, since the notice of claim and conference describes the claim and provides the date of the conference, you can have an idea of what you should be facing and how long you can prepare for this.
Steps to Prepare for a Notice of Claim and Conference California Employees File
- You should read and understand the facts stated in the notice of claim and conference California employees file. Take note of the time period covered in the claim and the type of claim you are facing. Also, see if the employee checked one or more boxes in the notice.
- After understanding the claim fully, start gathering all the documents or evidence necessary or involved in the claim. These documents can be the employee’s payroll records, time cards, or any agreement that you had with the employee. You will need to print another copy of these documents for review since you will have to keep the original files from marks and any other things that could make it void in the procedure.
- The goal of the conference is to see if the issue can be resolved without going to a hearing. That is why you should bring an experience Employer Attorney with you to the conference! A few hundred dollars to an attorney is going to be a great investment if it increases your chance of getting the claim dismissed that day.
- You will need to discuss your case with legal counsel just to weigh possibilities and guide you all throughout the case. You also need to prepare a game plan for the conference together with your counsel.
- Lastly, attend the conference and see what the claimant is really after. Remember the goal is to settle this before it goes any further and costs you more money! If you have really good legal counsel with you, there is a much better chance its going to be resolved that day.
- You and the plaintiff (your former employee) will come to some type of agreement.
- The Deputy will schedule a hearing. Which means he/she thinks their is legal basis to continue with the matter.
- The Deputy will dismiss the case. Which means he/she thinks their is no legal basis to continue the claim.
These are just a few tips and a basic overview of the notice of claim and conference process. Situations vary greatly from employer to employer and each one will be slightly unique. In order to be more confident and make sure you are doing the right thing, having a legal counsel at your side at the early stage can greatly expedite your preparations.
Lastly, if you have a notice of claim and conference that you need to answer to, contact a professional labor attorney to help you prepare and to represent you at the conference. The key to success at the conferences is to try to get them dismissed then and there so it wont go any further and cost you more time and money. With a professional labor attorney who specializes in defending business representing you, you will have your best chance for that to happen.
We are professional labor attorneys who specialize in defending California business owners. Contact Us Today!