Lawyers are not available to represent the vast majority of those low-wage workers who are not paid or paid properly. When workers don't get the pay they have earned, the employer is basically stealing money from the workers. On behalf of clients, CLS worked with other groups on legislation the Washington Legislature enacted in 2006, granting the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) authority to decide what wages are due and collect wages for workers, and to impose civil penalties on employers who willfully fail to pay wages due. The law allows either employers or workers to appeal to an administrative law judge if they disagree with L&I’s decision. Workers are not required to use the administrative system, and may opt to pursue wage-theft claims in court instead. CLS also drafted community education materials about the new procedures. Additional information about worker rights in wage disputes can be found at Washington Law Help.