Can I Have A Lawyer Represent Me At A Labor Commissioner Hearing?

If you have filed a wage claim or are considering filing a wage claim, you may be wondering whether you can have a lawyer represent you at the Labor Commissioner Hearing.  While you do not need a lawyer in order to file a wage claim, you are allowed to have a lawyer represent you.

Image of labor commission hearing man and two interviewers

According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations, each party has the following basic rights at the hearing:

  • To be represented by an attorney or other party of his or her choosing.
  • To present evidence.
  • To testify in his or her own behalf.
  • To have his or her own witnesses testify.
  • To cross-examine the opposing party and witnesses.
  • To explain evidence offered in support of his or her position and to rebut evidence offered in opposition.
  • To have a translator present, if necessary.

Reasons not to Hire a Lawyer for Your Labor Commissioner Hearing.

Although it is typically best to have a lawyer represent you at a Labor Commissioner Hearing, it may not be practical for every employee.  For example, if your wage claim is only worth a few hundred dollars, hiring an attorney may not be economically feasible.  Many employment lawyers represent their clients on a contingency fee basis.  This means that the attorney will not charge you anything upfront, and will simply take a percentage of any money that you are able to recover.  If there are only a few hundred dollars at stake, the attorney would not be able to recover enough money to make the representation worth the attorney’s time.  In such a case, you may choose to pursue your wage claim without an attorney.

Nonetheless, you should talk to an experienced attorney before making the decision to proceed with a wage claim on your own.  After talking to a wage claim lawyer, you may be surprised to learn that there is actually much more money at stake than you originally thought.

Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your Labor Commissioner Hearing.

Due to the complexities of California wage and hour regulations, most employees are not able to accurately assess the value of their wage claim.  You can usually speak to an employment lawyer for free and receive a telephone consultation in which the lawyer can help you to understand all of the elements of your claim.  Therefore, even if you don’t intend to hire a lawyer for your wage claim, it’s worth a phone call.

The benefits of hiring a lawyer to represent you at your Labor Commissioner Hearing are many.  First, most lawsuits and most wage claims settle before ever making it to the courtroom.  If you don’t know the value of your wage claim and you don’t understand the costs and expenses involved in litigation, you won’t know a fair settlement when you see one.  Second, a lawyer shows your employer that you are serious about your claim and may help to ensure that your employer does not try to take advantage of you, intimidate you or make low-ball offers.  Third, your lawyer will assist you in gathering evidence and presenting it in a persuasive manner at the Labor Commissioner Hearing.  Fourth, and most importantly, hiring a lawyer will allow you to focus on the important things in your life instead of spending your time trying to learn the wage laws and continuing to fight your current or former employer.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire An Employment Lawyer For A Labor Commissioner Hearing?

Many employment lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you won’t have to pay anything unless you win.  Because a good lawyer may increase the value of your wage claim, you may end up with more money even after your lawyer takes their percentage.  Beware of an attorneys that ask you to pay up-front for their services.  This may be a sign that your case is not worth the attorney’s time and you should seek another opinion from another attorney.

How Much is My Wage Claim Worth?

Each wage claim must be looked at on an individual basis to determine its potential value. 

San Diego Labor Commissioner Hearing and Wage Claims

If you live or work in San Diego and would like to file a wage claim, please contact us so that we can help you to better understand the wage claim process and whether or not it makes sense for you to hire an attorney.  We represent employees throughout Southern California, in a wide variety of employment matters.  Our offices are conveniently located in Carlsbad, California and we are happy to arrange a telephone consultation at your convenience.


Contact right now if you would like free advice in a confidential consultation. Tel: 760-239-0230.


David Peer

About the author

David focuses his practice on civil litigation for small businesses and individuals. Prior to founding Peer & Hart, PC, David worked in WilmerHale's Los Angeles office litigating complex matters for multi-national corporations. David was a member of WilmerHale's patent litigation group and was on the trial team for large-scale patent cases in Federal Court. In 2015, David helped try a multi-week, billion dollar patent case. David also took part in government investigations and major discovery projects, giving him a deep understanding of efficiency and cost-reduction strategies in pre-trial litigation.

Since forming Peer | Hart, David has defended his clients from employment suits and actions in front of administrative agencies. David has negotiated favorable settlements and counseled his clients on cost effective litigation strategy and litigation prevention. David has an engineering degree and is registered to prosecute patents in front of the US Patent and Trademark Office.

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