• Apr 18, 2024
  • Wage & Hour

How to File a Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages

How to File a Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages

Understanding California labor laws is crucial for any employee who’s trying to pursue an unpaid wages lawsuit.

State laws require employers to properly pay workers the state’s proper minimum wage, all overtime pay the employee earned, and any other compensation stipulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour division. If an employer fails to pay overtime, commits wage theft, or does not pay at least minimum wage to employees, workers can work with an employment lawyer to recoup their compensation and potentially back wages or other unpaid wages.

California’s labor laws mandate that employees must be paid at least the minimum wage, receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond the standard 40-hour workweek, or beyond eight hours in a single day, and are entitled to designated breaks during their shifts.

When an employer fails to adhere to these regulations, it creates grounds for an unpaid wages claim.

Unpaid Wages California Law


In a wage theft case, or any other claim that violates California wage and hour laws, the employee must provide evidence of hours worked for which they did not receive compensation.


Timing also plays a critical role in wage violation claims. California’s statute of limitations requires that unpaid wage claims be filed within a specific timeframe after the unpaid wages were due. Depending on the nature of the violation, this period can vary. The attorneys at Lawyers for Justice, PC can help you navigate deadlines if you call for a FREE consultation.

In pursuing an unpaid wages claim in California, compiling and presenting evidence is crucial. Employees should gather and maintain records that prove they are owed unpaid wages. This evidence can be in the form of pay stubs, employment contracts, work schedules, time sheets, and any communication with their employer regarding payment issues.

California wage laws mandate that employers to provide detailed wage statements, which are documents that can be crucial in establishing discrepancies between the wages owed and received.

California labor laws also require employers to keep accurate records of employees’ hours worked and wages paid. Failure by an employer to maintain or provide these records can work in favor of the claimant’s case.

California Unpaid Wage Penalties

If an employer fail to pay wages to their worker, an employee may be entitled to wage and hour penalties under California law. They could be entitled to a penalty of one day’s pay for each day that the wages are late, up to a maximum of 30 days. If an employee wins their case for unpaid wages, they also may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees and court costs.

The California Department of Industrial Relations goes into detail on late payment of wages, which can be a helpful resource when preparing for an unpaid wages lawsuit.

Lawsuit for Unpaid Wages – FAQ

can i sue my employer for not paying me correctly? Yes, any employee in California, regardless of their status, can sue to recover unpaid wages if they have not been paid correctly. This includes issues related to minimum wage, overtime, and various wage and hour violations.

my employer didn’t pay me what can i do? If an employer paid you wages that were incorrect and are in violation of California wage laws, it is best to call the employment lawyers at Lawyers for Justice, PC for a free consultation to see how they can help in your unpaid wage disputes.

what to do when employer doesn’t pay you? You should report the issue to HR and you can also choose to file a wage claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations.

how long does an employer have to fix a payroll error in california? Typically, California employers have up to 30 days to correct payroll errors. If they do not fix errors during that time, employees are entitled to a full day’s wages at their regular rate for each day the mistake continues.

how long do you have to file a lawsuit against your employer? Usually, employees must file claims for violations of minimum wage, overtime, illegal deductions from pay or unpaid reimbursements within three years.

can you sue a job for not paying you? Employers have the right to be paid for the work they do. They are entitled to pursue justice for the wages they are owed.

my employer owes me money what can i do? Consider reaching out to the wage violations attorneys at Lawyers for Justice, PC for more information on how they can help.

can i sue for not getting paid on time? Yes, employees who are not paid on time are entitled to waiting time penalties and potentially other forms of compensation.

how to file a wage claim in california? You can file a wage claim HERE. After that, employees are usually required to submit supporting documents, and then there can be a settlement and hearing conducted to determine the outcome of any minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime compensation, or the wage theft issues.

my employer is refusing to pay me: report the issue to HR and reach out to an employment lawyer to see your options for retaliation.

what happens if my employer doesn’t pay me?

how much can i sue my employer for not paying me? Each unpaid wages lawsuit is different. However, wage and hour laws must be adhered to if an employer wants to avoid legal action. Reach out to LFJ today for more information on how much you can sue your employer for in your specific wage theft claim.

can you sue a temp agency for not paying you? Yes. In California, employers must pay their employees by specific deadlines. If they don’t, you have the right to file a wage claim.


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