• Sep 25, 2023
  • Wage & Hour

Wage and Hour Statute of Limitations in California

Wage and Hour Statute of Limitations in California

The statute of limitations for wage and hour claims in California varies depending on the specific type of claim. The statute of limitations determines the time limit within which a lawsuit or legal action must be filed after an alleged violation has occurred. It’s important to note that laws and regulations may have changed since my last update, so it’s advisable to consult the most recent and applicable legal sources or consult an attorney for the latest information.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a wage and hour claim lawsuit. Most wage and hour lawsuits MUST be filed within a certain amount of time. In general, once the statute of limitations on a case “runs out,” the legal wage and hour claim is no longer valid.  

What to Know About a California Wage and Hour Claim

Here are some general guidelines for the statute of limitations related to a California wage and hour claim:

  1. Unpaid Wages (Regular Wages, Overtime, etc.): The general statute of limitations for unpaid wages under California law is three years from the date the wages were due. This means that if an employee believes they haven’t been paid their proper overtime pay, for example, an unpaid wages claim must be filed against their current or former employer three years from when they were owed those wages.
  2. Meal and Rest Break Violations: Employees have three years from the date the alleged meal or rest break violation occurred to file a California wage and hour claim.
  3. Minimum Wage Violations: The statute of limitations for minimum wage violations is generally three years from the date when the employee was not receiving at least minimum wage in return for their work.
  4. Unlawful Deductions: For claims related to unlawful deductions from wages, the statute of limitations is generally three years from the date the unlawful deduction was made. An unlawful deduction could be business expenses, gratuity, medical or physical exams, company photos, or uniforms.
  5. Waiting Time Penalties: Employees who have not been paid their final wages upon termination or resignation may have a wage and hour claim for waiting time penalties. The statute of limitations for waiting time penalties is three years from the date the wages were due.
  6. Record-keeping Violations: There is no specific statute of limitations for record keeping violations. Employers are generally required to maintain certain employment records for a specified period, and violations can be addressed as part of other wage and hour claims.

It’s critical to consult with a wage and hour attorney if you think there could be a statute of limitations for an unpaid wages claim you are thinking of filing in California. The attorneys at Lawyers for Justice, PC (LFJ) uphold California law, have fought and won countless wage and hour claims, unpaid reimbursement claims, minimum wage violations, and uphold the wage and hour statute. The employment attorneys at LFJ fight against unfair business practices and have recovered over $1 million for California wage workers.

Suing for Unpaid Wages in California

If you’re considering suing for unpaid wages in California, it’s important to understand the process and steps involved in the wage claims process.

  1. Understand Your Rights and Gather Documentation: You can familiarize yourself with California labor laws regarding wages, overtime, meal breaks, rest breaks, and any other specific regulations applicable to your situation (but an employment lawyer can help – more on that below). You should however, gather evidence and documentation, including pay stubs, timesheets, contracts, related employment claims, and any correspondence related to your wages.
  2. Consult an Attorney: Consult with an employment attorney who specializes in California labor laws. A skilled employment lawyer can provide legal advice, evaluate the strength of your case, and guide you through the legal process. Call (844) 568-1702 for a FREE consultation with Lawyers for Justice, PC.
  3. File a Wage Claim: You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office. You can do this online, by mail, or in person at a local DLSE office. An employment attorney can give you more information on this process.
  4. Complete the Required Forms: Fill out the necessary forms to initiate the wage claim process. The forms typically include information about your employer, details about the alleged unpaid wages, and other relevant information.
  5. Attend a Hearing: If the issue is not resolved during the investigation, a hearing may be scheduled. Both parties will have the opportunity to present their case and evidence.
  6. Receive a Decision: Following the hearing, a decision will be issued. This decision can be appealed by either party within a specific timeframe.
  7. Enforce the Decision: If the decision is in your favor and you’re awarded the unpaid wages you sought, the an employment attorney can help give you information on collecting the owed amount. If the decision is not in your favor, consult an attorney to explore further legal options.

Legal processes can be complex and it’s essential to seek legal advice to ensure you’re taking the appropriate steps for your specific situation. Call (844) 568-1702 for a FREE consultation with Lawyers for Justice, PC.


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