How To Sue Employer For Unpaid Wages In California

In California, employers must pay wages in a timely manner or you can file suit for the unpaid wages, hence requiring you to learn how to sue employer for unpaid wages. California law requires employers to pay twice monthly with a few exceptions. When you have worked overtime, you must receive those wages by the payday for the next payroll period.

Upon resignation or termination of employment, employers must pay your final wages immediately. In cases where you did not provide a 72-hour resignation notice, employers must pay final wages within 72 hours.

If you did not receive your wages in a timely manner, you have a legal right to file a claim against your employer. An employer legally cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim against them. Here's how to sue employer for unpaid wages in California:

  1. Gather copies of all documentation you have to substantiate your claim. This paperwork may include check stubs, resignation letter, overtime authorization, time card, or any correspondence between you and the employers regarding this situation.
  2. File a wage claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations. You can obtain the form needed online, by calling them, or by visiting on of their offices. Fill out the form completely and include copies of all documentation that you have.
  3. Return the form to them either by mail or in-person. The forms received by the department requires original signatures, therefore you cannot fax or email them.
  4. File the forms quickly, as you only have two to four years to file depending on your situation.
  5. Attend any hearings and provide any documentation that is necessary to resolve your case.

Tip: If your case has not been resolved using the Department of Industrial Relations, you can consult a lawyer regarding taking your case to a higher level.




California Department of Industrial Relations: Paydays, pay periods, and the final wages

California Department of Industrial Relations: How to file a wage claim

California Courts Self-Help Center: Collect Unpaid Wages

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