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How to file a wage claim against a California employer

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Wage And Hour Claims

Many people in California depend on money from their jobs to earn a living. That’s why it’s understandably upsetting when you believe an employer rightfully owes you wages. Fortunately, California employees can take action to receive owed wages by filing wage claims against employers.

California’s deadlines

Each state has deadlines regarding how long workers can file wage and hour claims. Waiting too long to file this claim invalidates your case, meaning you likely lose your ability to get back lost wages.

Here are California’s deadlines depending on what an employer owes you:

  • Oral promises to pay more than minimum wage: Two years
  • Minimum wage or overtime violations: Three years
  • Illegal pay deductions: Three years
  • Unpaid reimbursements: Three years
  • Written contract-related wage claims: Four years

Gathering necessary information

No case involving unpaid wages goes far without evidence. California laws require employers to keep accurate wage and time-related records. But you should also provide accurately recorded time you didn’t receive payment for. Besides your manually tracked time, you may also present pay stubs.

Attending conferences and hearings

After submitting all required information, you’ll most likely need to attend a settlement conference. This meeting lets a labor commissioner work with you and your employer to settle pay-related disputes. If a settlement conference doesn’t resolve matters, both parties must attend a hearing. It’s crucial to know that not attending a required hearing dismisses your wage claim.

You can file a wage claim against an employer through an in-person filing, filing by email or completing the process online. There’s no exact timeframe for recovering unpaid wages – this process can take up to six weeks or more.