How to File a Labor Law Dispute

By Lily Welsh
Your state labor department, your labor dispute

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The correct process for filing a labor dispute depends on a few different factors, including where you are employed, what type of dispute you have and whether you are a union member. Although you may be anxious to file your claim quickly after encountering trouble in the workplace, it is important to slow down and follow the proper steps. Failing to do so could jeopardize the outcome of your labor dispute.

Determine where to file your labor dispute. The vast majority of labor disputes are handled at the state level, because states have labor laws that exist independent of federal labor laws. Check your state government website to find out how to contact your state's labor department. If you have a federal job, you will file at the federal level through the Department of Labor. If you are a union member, you will almost certainly be forbidden to enter into any labor dispute independent of the union, so you will need to contact your representative to get the ball rolling.

Familiarize yourself with the filing procedure for the kind of dispute you need to file. There may be different divisions of your state's labor department who handle different types of claims, and they may have varied filing procedures. For instance, in Texas, the Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division handles disputes involving workplace discrimination complaints and accepts complaints in person, by phone or via an online form. On the other hand, the Workforce Commission Labor Law Division handles wage disputes and they require that you print up a complete a form about your claim and then have it notarized before submitting it. If you are a union member, your representative can handle this for you. Alternatively, seek advice from the state's labor department.

File your labor dispute, along with any supporting evidence, according to the guidelines for your type of complaint. You may be required to supply additional information, attend mediation sessions or interviews, or otherwise follow-up as the dispute is being settled.

About the Author

Lily Welsh is a freelance writer from North Carolina, though she has spent much of her adult life living abroad. She is the About.com Guide to Music Careers, and her work appears frequently in other Web-based and print publications. Welsh has worked in the music industry for 15 years and counting and holds B.A.s in international studies and economics.

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