LIENS, MORTGAGES AND PLEDGES
CLAIMS FOR WAGES
45-617. Administrative proceedings for wage claims. (1) Wage claims filed with the department, excluding potential penalties, are limited by the same dollar amount that limits actions before the small claims department of the magistrate’s division of the district court.
(2) The contested case provisions of the Idaho administrative procedures act, chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code, are inapplicable to proceedings involving wage claims under this chapter.
(3) Once a wage claim has been properly filed with the department, the provisions of this section shall provide the exclusive remedy for resolving the wage claim. If at any time after the filing of the wage claim the department determines that it lacks jurisdiction over the wage claim, the department shall provide written notification of its determination to the claimant and the employer. The claimant may then assert the wage claim in any court of competent jurisdiction. In the event the department determines that it lacks jurisdiction over the wage claim, the limitation periods provided for in section 45-614, Idaho Code, shall be tolled from the date the wage claim was filed with the department until the date notice that the department lacks jurisdiction is mailed to the claimant, as provided in subsection (5) of this section.
(4) A department compliance officer shall examine wage claims filed with the department and, on the basis of the facts found, shall determine whether the wage claimant is entitled to an award for unpaid wages and penalties. If the compliance officer is unable to determine whether wages and penalties are owed, the claim may be referred to a hearing officer for a determination. The department may adjust the amount of penalties awarded for an employer’s failure to comply with the requirements of section 45-606, Idaho Code. The department may award no penalty, or may award a penalty in any amount up to the maximum amount allowed under section 45-607, Idaho Code. No penalty shall be awarded by the department unless a specific finding is made that wages were withheld willfully, arbitrarily and without just cause. The department’s determination shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law. Before the determination becomes final or an appeal is filed, the compliance or hearing officer that issued the determination may, on their own motion, issue a revised determination. The determination or revised determination shall become a final determination unless, within fourteen (14) days after notice, as provided in subsection (5) of this section, an appeal is filed by the claimant or the employer with the department. If an appeal is not timely filed, the amount awarded by a final determination shall become immediately due and payable to the department. A final determination may be enforced by the department in accordance with section 45-618, Idaho Code.
(5) The claimant and the employer shall be entitled to prompt service of notice of determinations and decisions. A notice shall be deemed served if delivered to the person being served or if mailed to his last known address. Service by mail shall be deemed complete on the date of mailing. The date indicated on department determinations or decisions as the "date of mailing" shall be presumed to be the date the document was deposited in the United States mail, unless otherwise shown by a preponderance of competent evidence.
(6) An appeal from a wage claim determination shall be in writing, signed by the appellant or the appellant’s representative and shall contain words that, by fair interpretation, request the appeal process for a specific determination of the department. The appeal may be filed by personal delivery, by mail, or by fax to the wage and hour section of the department at the address indicated on the wage claim determination. The date of personal delivery shall be noted on the appeal and shall be deemed the date of filing. If mailed, the appeal shall be deemed to be filed on the date of mailing as determined by the postmark. A faxed appeal that is received by the wage and hour section by 5:00 p.m. on a business day shall be deemed filed on that date. A faxed appeal that is received by the wage and hour section on a weekend, holiday or after 5:00 p.m. on a business day shall be deemed filed on the next business day.
(7) To hear and decide appeals from determinations, the director shall appoint appeals examiners who have been specifically trained to hear wage claims. Unless the appeal is withdrawn, the appeals examiner shall affirm, modify, set aside or reverse the determination involved, after affording the claimant and the employer reasonable opportunity for a fair hearing, or may refer a matter back to the compliance or hearing officer for further action. The appeals examiner shall notify the claimant and the employer of his decision by serving notice in the same manner as provided in subsection (5) of this section. The decision shall set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law. The appeals examiner may, either upon application for rehearing by the claimant, the employer, or on his own motion, rehear, affirm, modify, set aside or reverse any prior decision on the basis of the evidence previously submitted or on the basis of additional evidence; provided, that such application or motion be made within ten (10) days after the date of service of the decision. A complete record shall be kept of all proceedings in connection with an appealed wage claim. All testimony at any hearing shall be recorded. Witnesses subpoenaed by the appeals examiner shall be allowed fees at a rate prescribed by the director. If the claimant or the employer formally requests the appeals examiner to issue a subpoena for a witness whose evidence is deemed necessary, the appeals examiner shall promptly issue the subpoena, unless such request is determined to be unreasonable. Unless the claimant or the employer, within fourteen (14) days after service of the decision of the appeals examiner, seeks judicial review pursuant to section 45-619, Idaho Code, or unless an application or motion is made for a rehearing of such decision, the decision of the appeals examiner shall become final and the amount awarded by the decision shall become immediately due and payable to the department. A decision that has become final may be enforced by the department according to section 45-618, Idaho Code.
(8) No person acting on behalf of the director shall participate in any case in which he has a direct or indirect personal interest.
(9) (a) Any right, fact, or matter in issue, directly based upon or necessarily involved in a determination or decision of the appeals examiner which has become final, shall be conclusive for all the purposes of this chapter as between the claimant and the employer who had notice of such determination or decision. Subject to judicial review as set forth in this chapter, any determination or decision shall be conclusive for all purposes of this chapter and shall not be subject to collateral attack irrespective of notice.
(b) No finding of fact or conclusion of law contained in a determination or decision rendered pursuant to this chapter by an appeals examiner, a court, or any other person authorized to make such determinations shall have preclusive effect in any other action or proceeding, except proceedings that are brought:
(i) Pursuant to this chapter;
(ii) To collect wage claims; or
(iii) To challenge the constitutionality of provisions of this chapter or administrative proceedings under this chapter.
[45-617, added 1999, ch. 51, sec. 20, p. 123.]