top of page

Unpaid Wages In California & Wage Theft Lawsuits

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Know your Employee Rights & Find the Best Unpaid Wages Lawyer in California

Wage Theft in California

Wage theft is abhorrent but highly prevalent. Unfortunately, employees don't always know their wage rights, so it's easy for them to overlook wage theft. So, let's talk about what wage theft is and what you can do about it.

Wage theft is when employees aren't paid the wage, salary, and benefits they are rightfully entitled to. It s happens if your boss fails to pay you for overtime or if they're paying you way below the minimum wage.

Here are factors that might be causes of wage theft:

  • California Minimal Wage: employees in California should get paid the minimum salary as required by California State law, whether they're paid by the hour, by the commission, by a bonus, or by compensation.

  • Overtime: employees in California must get paid overtime as follows:

    • 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for all hours labored over eight hours in a workday or over 40 hours in a week, and

    • double the ordinary pay rate for all workday hours labored over 12 hours.

If an employee works 7 days in a workweek, the worker should be paid:

  • 1.5 times the regular pay for the first eight hours on the seventh day, and

  • double the regular pay rate for all hours labored over eight hours on the seventh day.

However, extra time laws do not observe all workers, and certain workers, along with home workers and farm workers, are covered by using one-of-a-kind spare time legal guidelines.

wage theft in California
  • Hourly Wages Promised: Your company has to pay you the wages promised. The Labor Commissioner enforces all wages a business owes, not just the minimum salary. For example, if your company promised to pay you $15 instead of $10, you may file a wage claim for the unpaid $5 per hour.

  • Meal and Rest Breaks: For the most part, employees in California need to acquire an uninterrupted 30-minute unpaid meal length for every five hours labored and a paid 10-minute break for every four hours worked.

You are entitled to a break even in case you work less than four hours. Certain workers which include domestic employees and farm workers have different benefits under the law.

  • Deductions from pay: Except for withholdings under California law (such as social security tax), your company might not withhold or deduct wages from your paycheck. Common violations of this law committed by employers are deductions for uniforms or gear needed to perform your job.

  • Compensation of Expenses Incurred: You must get compensation for all reasonably essential costs for performing your job duties. For example, your company needs to pay for the tools and components required to complete your job and provide mileage compensation if you use your automobile. However, if you earn at least two times the minimum salary, your agency can require you to offer sure hand equipment customarily used in your occupation.

  • Reporting Time Pay: If you report to work expecting a certain number of work hours in your schedule but receive less than half of your ordinary hours, you should nonetheless be paid for as a minimum of half of your regular hours (for a minimum of as a minimum 2 hours).

For example, a farmworker who reports working an eight-hour shift and only works for 1 hour needs to receive 4 hours of pay—1 for the hour worked and three as reporting time pay so that the employee gets to pay for at least half of the expected eight-hour shift.

  • Split Shift premium: If you work more than two shifts in a workday with an unpaid break of an hour, your company may be required to pay a "they shift premium"; this is assessed and calculated based on your rate of pay.

  • Final Checks at Termination: If your company fires you, you should get ahold of your final paycheck on your last day. If you are not paid while your job ends, you'll be entitled to receive an additional salary of a day's wages for every day your organization withholds your last paycheck for as many as 30 days.

  • Bounced Checks Penalties: If your employer writes you a check that is back for lack of funds, you have got proper to receive penalties of as much as 30 days' wages similar to the quantity of the check.

How To Recover Your Unpaid Wages From Your Employer in California in 3 Easy Steps?

1. Check the dates

  • You must report claims for violations of a minimal wage, overtime, illegal deductions from pay, or unpaid reimbursements within 3 years.

  • You must record claims based on verbal arrangements to pay more than a minimum wage within 2 years.

  • You should record claims based on a written agreement within four years.

2. Consult With A Pre-Screened Unpaid Wages Lawyer in California

Find a reputable lawyer who is well-versed in California Labor laws. You can get a very good idea of what legal actions you can take during a free case evaluation.

Each case is different, and your unique circumstances will affect the outcome of your case, so it's better to be well-informed by getting legal advice. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against several defendants. Your lawyer will investigate potential defendants responsible for your legal claim.

3. Research

Gather any files you have to prove your claim, which includes paychecks or stubs, timesheets, calendars, or notes about your work hours: the more documentation, the better. A complete file will help your Unpaid Wages Lawyer in California support your claim.

If you currently don't have a lawyer to help you, it's best to start reaching out to Employment Law Firms in California and get legal assistance as soon as possible.

unpaid wages lawyer los angeles

Frequently Asked Questions About Unpaid Wages in California

1. Who Can File an Employment Claim?

California employment laws protect all people regardless of immigration status. The California Commissioner accepts complaints from any employee who performed any job in California.

2. Where Can I Get Help?

The easiest and most effective way to file a claim is by retaining your Unpaid Wages Lawyer in California. You don't have to pay any legal fees upfront, and our case can be analyzed free of charge. In addition, your Unpaid Wages Lawyer in California will work with the California Commissioner to protect your employee rights.

3. When Will I Get Paid?

It depends on how and when you file your claim. Many claims settle, and you receive your agreement either when you sign the settlement agreement or primarily based on the agreed payment date.

The hearing and final decision may take longer if your case does not settle. However, if you win and your company does not pay, you have different options for collecting your award, even requesting that the Sheriff seize your organization's assets (consisting of financial institution accounts, equipment, or inventory).

4. How Does My Claim Affect My Coworkers Who Experienced Similar Violations?

Your case should not affect your coworkers. Other employees who have experienced the same wage violations will not get their unpaid wages except when they file their claims.

5. What if My Boss Fires, Demotes, or Punishes Me for Submitting This Claim?

California regulation prohibits employers from retaliating toward workers for imposing place of job rights. If your company retaliates against you, you must report the retaliation by visiting this link.

Related articles:


Best Lawyers Near Los Angeles

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

Welcome to, a Lawyer Referral and Information Service certified and approved by the California State Bar.

"Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals."


Unlike other services, we maintain complete independence from the lawyers receiving these referrals, ensuring transparency and fairness.

While we specialize in California employment law and personal injury claims, we offer our referral services for various other legal areas.


At, we aim to ensure you are connected with best California attorney near you who can provide comprehensive and exceptional representation for your specific legal needs.


We understand that every legal situation is unique and are dedicated to finding the best match for you.


With our extensive network of attorneys, we strive to deliver outstanding legal support and guidance tailored to your individual requirements.

At, we hold California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.


Your satisfaction and confidence in the legal representation you receive are paramount to us.


Rest assured that when you engage in our services, you can expect nothing less than exceptional legal support and guidance.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


Our team of experts verifies that attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here.


Our History 


Since 2005, we have been dedicated to helping individuals find reliable legal representation in California.


We understand the challenges people face when trying to locate reputable lawyers, especially when inundated with self-promoting advertisements and biased marketing from law firms.


At our service, we strive to cut through the noise and provide a trustworthy and unbiased platform for connecting individuals with reputable California lawyers.


Our clients receive quality legal representation without the frustration and uncertainty often associated with legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via email. We respond to email inquiries within 24 hours M-F. 

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 


Simple Retro Handyman Service Badge Logo-2.png
bottom of page