In Palagin v. Paniagua Construction, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Dec. 16, 2013), the California Court of Appeal (First Appellate District, Division Five) reversed the San Francisco County Superior Court court’s ruling in favor of defendant employer on an unpaid wages claim.

Plaintiff filed a claim with the California Labor Commissioner for unpaid wages against his former employer. The Labor Commissioner issued an award in Plaintiff’s favor.  Although the Defendant timely filed a notice of appeal in San Francisco Superior Court, it failed to first post a bond in the amount of the labor commissioner’s award. Nevertheless, the trial court allowed Defendant to post a bond sixty-six days after the notice of appeal was filed and then held a trial de novo. At trial, the court found for Defendant and vacated the Labor Commissioner’s award. Plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court reversed, finding that the trial court had no authority to grant the appeal of the Labor Commissioner’s ruling.  The requirement in Labor Code Section 98.2(b) – that the appellant must post a bond as a condition to filing an appeal from a ruling of the Labor Commissioner – is a jurisdictional requirement such that the trial court cannot extend the time for the posting beyond the deadline required for the filing of the notice of appeal.