I've started to wonder: at what level, if any, does a wage claim heard with the informal procedural rules of a DLSE hearing start to touch on due process? The legislature has decided that at $25,000 civil cases require more deliberation, discovery, and so forth. Congress has determined that cases above $75,000 between citizens of different states require the protection of a theoretically less biased federal judge.
If you've practiced in the DLSE, you know that either side can get a lot of questionable evidence into the record, and it's all left to the discretion of a hearing officer. Does the availabilty of de novo review eliminate this concern? (And if so, what effect would AB 382 have on that?)
It seems to me that if these sections are open to review right now, two possibilities should be considered: (1) cases over a certain amount ($100,000?) are kicked directly to the Superior Court, or (2) cases over that amount are given much broader discovery and tighter evidence rules at the DLSE hearing.