Employees in California rarely think about gathering evidence, because they are too focused on filing a lawsuit and recovering damages as soon as possible. But this is not the most rational approach if you truly want to sue your employer for violating California’s wage and hour laws.
“Collecting supporting evidence is by far the single best thing you can do to maximize your chances of success and win a wage fraud lawsuit,” says our Los Angeles wage fraud attorney at JML Law. To do that, you need to know the types of evidence and documentation you will need to gather to boost the validity of your claim. And that is exactly what we are going to talk about today.
Supporting documentation for a wage fraud claim
When filing a claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and claiming wage fraud or other violations, it is highly advised to file supporting documentation to substantiate your claim. Depending on what you are complaining about in your claim, the supporting documentation can include but is not limited to a calculation of the unpaid wages, determination of penalties owed by your employer, and certain types of evidence.
“However, you may not have to file a computation of unpaid wages or penalties along with your claim if the amount owed by your employer was clearly specified in the form you filled out for the DLSE,” explains our experienced wage fraud attorney in Los Angeles.
Applicable forms to file along with your wage fraud claim for the DLSE
Many of our clients at the JML Law say they cannot find the appropriate form to complete and file with the DLSE. Here’s the list of all forms available on the website of the Department of Industrial Relations.
If applicable, you can fill out one or several of the following forms to gather supporting evidence for your claim and potentially expedite the investigation, discovery, and litigation:
- Meal and rest period violations. DLSE Form 55 should be filled out if you are complaining about your employer’s violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. In the form, you can specify the exact number of meal breaks and rest periods you were NOT provided by your employer.
- Unpaid wages claims. DLSE Form 55 is also applicable if you are complaining about irregular or varying hours or days of work as the basis of your wage violation claim. In the form, you can specify the irregularities in the hours or days of work.
- Unpaid commissions. If you are a commission-based employee in California, fill out DLSE Form 155, in which you can detail the amount of commissions owed, and how you earned those commissions.
- Unpaid vacations. Unpaid vacation wages can also be the basis for a wage fraud claim in California. Fill out a vacation pay schedule form to outline the qualifying period, amount of vacation taken, vacation taken, and balance due.
What types of evidence do you need for a wage fraud claim?
This is one of the most confusing aspects of filing a wage fraud claim in California, as many workers believe that there is little to no evidence that you can gather to support your claim.
Depending on the type of the claim you are filing with the DLSE, these are the evidence you may be able to collect and file alongside your wage fraud claim, if relevant to the claim:
- The contract signed with your employer, in which it states when, how much, and how you should get paid for your work
- The number of hours you have worked for which your employer has not paid
- Pay stubs showing wages you were paid before your employer stopped making payments or started committing other types of wage fraud
- Dishonored paychecks
- Any documents, letters, or emails provided by the employer describing why the payments have not been made yet.
While it is highly advised to retain originals of the above-mentioned documentation, providing copies of these documents will suffice to support your wage claim. Getting your hands on the original documents may not always be possible, as employers are generally reluctant to provide originals.
That is why the best way to get your hands on the originals is by hiring a Los Angeles wage fraud attorney. As a rule of thumb, employers are more likely to provide requested documentation if you are represented by a lawyer in California.
Contact our experienced lawyers at the JML Law to speak about your particular case. Call at 818-610-8800 or fill out this contact form to get a free consultation and formulate a legal strategy that will not only increase your credibility in the eyes of the DLSE, juries, and judges but also help you win compensation.