Unpaid Wages in California

California Wage Law

If your employer in California has failed to pay you wages you are legally owed, you may have a claim for unpaid wages. California labor laws protect employees’ rights to full compensation for their work.

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Common California Wage Violations

Some typical wage violations in California include:

  • Minimum wage violations: Being paid less than the required state or local minimum wage.
  • Overtime violations: Not receiving 1.5 times your regular rate for hours over 8 per day or 40 per week.
  • Meal and rest break violations: Not receiving a full 30-minute unpaid, duty-free meal break for every 5 hours worked or a 10-minute rest break every 4 hours.
  • Illegal deductions: Unlawful deductions from pay for uniforms, shortages, etc.
  • Time shaving: Only being paid for part of the hours you actually worked.
  • Late Final Paychecks: Not receiving your final wages within the deadline after employment ends.
  • Unpaid Prevailing Wage: Note receiving prevailing wages for construction work on government-funded or other public works projects.
Recovering Unpaid Wages

Initial Consultation with an Attorney

During your first meeting, the attorney will:

  • Review your employment records like pay stubs, policies, and timeline
  • Determine if wage and hour violations occurred
  • Explain your options such as filing a wage claim or lawsuit
  • Discuss legal strategies based on your specific situation

Bring copies of all relevant records and documentation so the attorney can best advise you. The attorney can then decide how to help you recover the unpaid wages you are owed under California law.

To prepare for a consultation with a California employment attorney, start gathering documentation:

  • Your work history, hours, and pay rate
  • Detailed notes on any unpaid hours worked
  • Applicable employment policies and handbook sections
  • Any texts, emails, or records showing unpaid wages owed

California has a statute of limitations of two, three or four years for recovering unpaid wages, depending on the wages at issue.