Whether you are an employee or an employer, you should be aware of the following important tips if you consider appealing the award of a labor commissioner in a typical DLSE wage claim:
- You only have 10 days to file a notice of appeal in the Superior court from the date the DLSE decision is issued.
- If you are an employer who is appealing an award in favor of an employee, you will have to post a bond in the amount of the award along with your notice of appeal.
- Your appeal hearing, which will take place in court, will be "de novo". This means that the court does not consider the proceedings that took place in DLSE at all and the DLSE findings have no place or relevance in the appeal hearing. This is basically a party's second shot to present his or her case.
- If you file an appeal and end up losing the appealing hearing, you will generally be liable for paying the attorneys fees of the opposing side.
- The significant advantage of an appeal process is that as a party you are allowed to conduct the type of typical discovery that you would be able to conduct in any other regular civil case. This means you can propound interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and take depositions. This is especially important in cases where evidence is disputed, i.e. the parties disagree over the work performed, the amount of hours worked, amount of money paid or owed, etc.