In California, you can file an unpaid wage claim to recover wages that your employer has failed to pay. This can be done in three different ways depending on the size of the claim and the employer’s response:
- Filing a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement
- Filing a wage claim with a federal agency
- Filing a wage and hour lawsuit in court
California wage and hour law set specific provisions for mandatory overtime and minimum wage for all non-exempt employees. An employer will be liable to pay the owed wages plus interest and any penalties the court decides.
You can file the following lawsuits against your employer in California:
- Misclassifying employees as exempt
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
- Failing to pay overtime compensation
- Requiring an employee to work off the clock
- Failing to pay California minimum wage
- Failing to pay local or county minimum wage
- Failing to pay agreed-upon hazard pay
- Paying wages late
- Failing to provide required rest breaks
- Failing to provide required meal breaks
If an employer has violated California labor laws for many employees, it is possible to bring a class action wage and hour lawsuit against them.
How much compensation will I get for a California unpaid wages lawsuit?
The compensation or damages you receive will vary depending on the labor code violation. Unpaid overtime or minimum wage violations will attract back wages plus interest. If you file in court, you will be able to recover attorneys’ fees and court costs as well.
If the violation was of meal breaks or rest breaks, you are entitled to one hour’s wages for every break you did not receive.
If the violation was willful, and not a good-faith error, you may receive double damages depending on the court’s decision. This will include interest on the unpaid wages.
Can I be fired for filing an unpaid wages claim?
It is illegal for employers to discriminate or retaliate against an employee who exercises their legal rights. An employer cannot take retaliation including and up to termination. Termination for this reason would be wrongful termination and attract another lawsuit.
When is the deadline for filing an unpaid wage claim?
The statute of limitations for a California wage and hour lawsuit is three years from the date of the most recent violation.