Any employee who has a claim against her/his employer or former employer for unpaid wages or other compensation, may file with the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement of the State Labor Commission.

Obtain an initial report or claim form from the State Labor Commission office in your area (look in the phone book in the government section under Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement, Labor Commission, or Department of Industrial Relations). Provide the following information as accurately as possible:

Claimant Information: Your name, social security number, number of tax exemptions claimed (may not apply if wages were not received), address, home and work phone numbers, occupation, date of hire, CA driver's license number, date of birth, work site address;

Against: Name and address of business, employer's name (if known), telephone number, name of manager, type of business, estimated number of employees (include dancers and other workers on site);

Wages-Conditions of Employment: Rate of pay, paid by piece rate (do not rely on employer's definition of a piece rate system), split shifts, total hours worked per day and per week (use these figures to calculate gross wages claimed), paid overtime (time and a half for each hour worked beyond 8 hours per shift), 4 day/10 hour workweek (include double shifts worked-day/night), written agreement, still working for employer, 72 hour notice given if quit, paid at time of discharge (wages, not tips), requested wages to be paid, record of hours worked (can be personal calendar, stage fee receipts, or employer contracts), how you were paid (if paid in cash, write "by patrons"), uniform/tools required (can be make-up, costumes, music, etc.);

Gross Wages Claimed: Period of employment, number hours/days/weeks/or months claimed (may go back up to three years from the date that you file this claim), rate of pay (amount of hourly wage per hour or minimum wage if unpaid; amount of stage fees/commissions/ or quotas paid each day), subtotal (total paid or unpaid wages + total paid stage fees), subtract total paid wages, total claim amount (subtract wages received from subtotal).

Brief Explanation of Issues: You may further explain conditions of employment (employer misclassified dancers as independent contractors and did not pay hourly wages, employer required fees in order to maintain schedule, employer took portions of tips given to employee by patrons, employer used employees wages or tips to pay employment taxes, etc.).

Sign completed form and make a copy for your personal records. Deliver form via mail, or in person (retain stamped copy from Labor Commission staff ).

Filed claims will be processed and assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner, who will determine how to proceed and will notify both parties as to the specific action which will initially be taken (Referral to a conference, Referral to a hearing, or dismissal of the claim).

If a conference is scheduled, a Notice of Claim Filed and Conference will be sent to both parties describing the nature of the claim, time and location, and directing both parties to attend. The purpose of the conference is to determine if the claim can be resolved without a hearing. Both parties should bring any evidence or documentation to support their position. If the employer fails to appear, the claim may be automatically referred to a hearing. If the employee fails to appear, except for good cause shown, the claim will be dismissed. If the case is not resolved at the conference, the Deputy may refer the case to a hearing or dismiss the claim, depending on the positions' of both parties and provided documentation. If the employer makes payment on the claim, the Deputy must be notified, and if the claim is fully paid the case will be closed. The employee may withdraw the claim at any time by notifying the Deputy and Labor Commission in writing.

If a hearing is scheduled, a Notice of Hearing will be sent to both parties providing the time and location, and directing both parties to attend. Both parties will testify under oath and may bring any documented evidence, witnesses or representatives (i.e. attorneys). Both parties may cross-examine the opposing party and witnesses. If the employee fails to appear, the case will be dismissed. If the employer fails to appear, the Hearing Officer will decide the matter based on evidence provided by the employee. A decision will be filed in the Labor Commission office within 15 days after the hearing, and the order will be sent to both parties shortly thereafter. Either party may appeal the Labor Commission's decision to the Municipal or Superior Court, within the time period set forth in the order.

You may call the Labor Commission at any time to check on the status of your claim form, conference notice, hearing notice, or case decision-follow up is crucial!

(California State Labor Commission, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, 1998)