How do I File a Labor Board Complaint?

Christopher John
Christopher John
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

To file a labor board complaint, determine whether you are entitled to file a complaint, submit the complaint to the correct governmental agency, and ensure that the complaint is filed within the time permitted. Labor laws, rules, and regulations are complex and vary in each jurisdiction, so you should research the laws in your area. Before filing the complaint, consider hiring a lawyer specializing in labor laws to help you with the process.


Filing a labor board complaint differs from filing a lawsuit in court because a labor board’s authority or jurisdiction is limited. A labor board is a governmental agency, and its authority is defined in the statute that created the agency. For example, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is a US governmental agency, and its purpose is to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices. The NLRB, however, cannot hear complaints from governmental employees, airline employees, or employees of religious schools.

Further, laws may not allow certain employees to file a labor board complaint. For instance, employees classified as supervisors, independent contractors, and agricultural laborers may not file a complaint with the NLRB. This is why you must learn whether you qualify for protection under the labor laws of your jurisdiction.

Next, determine where you must file your labor board complaint.  Labor boards usually have jurisdiction over a specific region. After locating the appropriate labor board for your region, contact the board to ask whether it provides specific forms for filing a complaint. You should also ask whether it has any local rules and procedures for submitting a complaint. 

Filing a labor board complaint is time-sensitive. In other words, laws may require an employee to file a complaint within a specified time frame. For instance, laws in the US require an employee to file a labor board complaint within six months of the time the employee becomes aware of an employer’s violation of the law. Failure to file the complaint in the time permitted could result in the labor board refusing to hear a complaint.

A lawyer can help you file a labor board complaint and improve your chances of success. Although you may save money by not hiring a lawyer, you face a greater chance of making a mistake. Furthermore, you may not have enough time to properly research the laws that apply to your situation. 

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