California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/Osha)
This is commonly referred to as “Cal/OSHA” since it is California’s parallel to the federal Occupational, Safety, and Health Administration (OSHA). Cal/OSHA sets and enforces safety standards in the workplace. Workers who want to report a safety violation can do so from their website. Instructions for filing a complaint with Cal/OSHA can be found here.
California Department of Industrial Relations, Divisions of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation in California is generally the “exclusive remedy” for workers who are injured in the workplace. This means that worker’s compensation, rather a civil lawsuit for damages, is how you recover your losses from an injury in the workplace (as with most things in the law, there are exceptions). Report any work-related injury or illness to your employer or supervisor immediately! Your employer must provide you a claim form upon learning of your injury, but you can also find a claim form (in English and Spanish) through the DOI’s website, here.
California Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
The California Labor Commissioner’s Office investigates wage theft cases. The DLSE was set up to provide employees an approachable, simple, more expedient way to resolve their wage claims cases than filing a civil lawsuit. In practice, this process often takes longer than what California law says it should take. But it does carry some advantages to a lawsuit—the DLSE hearing procedures are designed to not require a lawyer (although a claimant may bring one if they want). And even with its delays, it can often be a faster alternative to a civil lawsuit, with streamlined procedures to help claimants resolve their wage issues.
California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
If your claim for unemployment insurance was denied by the Employment Development Department (EDD), you may typically appeal this decision to the CUIAB. You will have strict timelines to file your appeal of the EDD determination with the CUIAB, so don’t delay! If you need an appeals form, those are also available online through the CUIAB domain here.
Centro Legal de la Raza, Worker’s Rights Program
Centro Legal holds clinics, including a drop-in clinic once a month, for low-wage and/or immigrant workers, who are particularly vulnerable to wage theft and mistreatment at work. The main page of Centro Legal also contains information about other clinics, such as immigration rights and tenants’ rights. Contact them at (510) 437-1554, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Aid at Work: Worker’s Rights Clinic, East Bay
The Worker’s Rights Clinic is operated by UC Berkeley Law School’s Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS). Law students work alongside an attorney to assist low-income workers with legal issues, including worker’s compensation and workplace torts. The clinic is typically open one evening per week when the law school is in session. Contact them today on their website!
Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VlSC)
VLSC is a non-profit law organization. As of this writing, VLSC does not have a particular clinic for employment law, but it does operate a Saturday clinic, called Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program (CLASP), which is held at the Alameda County Law Library (125 Twelfth Street, Oakland, CA 94607). CLASP utilizes the help of volunteer attorneys to assist with a wide spectrum of areas of law, including employment. Learn more here.
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