New Trial Required Before Labor Code Section 98.2(c) Becomes Operative Against Employee

   An employee that has a wage claim against an employer may file a claim with the Labor Commissioner or may file a suit for breach of contract in Superior Court. Claims adjudicated by the commissioner do not provide for attorney fees. If either party is unsatisfied with the commissioner’s decision, an appeal may be taken to the Superior Court.

   However, Labor Code section 98.2, subdivision (c) provides that if a party files an appeal in the superior court seeking review of the Labor Commissioner’s decision and is unsuccessful, the court shall determine the reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the other parties to the appeal and assess that amount as a cost upon the party filing the appeal. The subsection specifically provides that an employee is successful on appeal if the court awards an amount greater than zero.

   What is the rule when an employee appeals and the appeal is dismissed on jurisdictional grounds because the appeal was not timely and the employee did not, therefore, achieve an award greater than zero in the Superior Court? Continue reading