How to File a Wage Theft Claim in California

If your employer pays you less than you are entitled to, it has committed wage theft. You can combat wage theft and recoup your missing wages and penalties if you file a wage theft claim. 

To file a successful claim, you must provide strong evidence of what you are owed, submit appropriate paperwork to the state, and possibly argue your case in a hearing or trial. You do not have to take these steps on your own. Our experienced employment attorneys at Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., can expertly handle your California wage theft claim and ensure that you recover all the wages and compensation you deserve. Contact us today!

Identifying Wage Theft

An employer can commit wage theft in multiple ways, including failing to do any of the following: 

  • Pay wages on time;
  • Allow an employee access to their personnel and payroll records;
  • Pay a non-exempt employee minimum wage (which is at least $15.50 per hour, depending on where an employee works);
  • Timely issue a final paycheck; 
  • Pay an employee their agreed-upon pay rate;
  • Pay a non-exempt employee overtime premiums of either 1.5 or 2 times their regular rate for working more than 8 hours in a day, 40 hours in a week, or 6 consecutive days in a week;  
  • Properly pay or fairly pool tips
  • Pay agreed-upon commission; or
  • Provide meal and rest breaks.

You could be the victim of multiple types of wage theft, so you should talk to us about your rights and options. Our attorneys can help you identify missing compensation in your wage history and assist in recovery. 

Filing a Wage Theft Claim 

To initiate and maintain a wage claim, you generally need to do the following.

Gather the Wage and Employment Information You Have

The evidence necessary for filing a successful claim can include:

  • Payment or benefit agreements with your employer; 
  • Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or other payment history information;
  • Witness testimony;
  • Documents regarding the hours you have worked;
  • Bounced paychecks;
  • Your employer’s name (including names and titles of supervisors);
  • Your employer’s contact information; and 
  • Information about your work responsibilities and the number of employees your employer has. 

Gather this information immediately and review it for missing payments. You should also talk to an employment attorney in Los Angeles about how your employer has been neglecting to pay you. You are ready to file your claim when you have identified how your employer has violated the law. 

To File a Claim with the State, Submit an “Initial Report or Claim” Form and Supporting Documents to the Labor Commissioner

You can start a state wage theft claim by filing an “Initial Report or Claim” form with the California Labor Commissioner. You need to provide information about your employer, any breaks you missed, and any payments or benefits you did not receive. This form can be submitted online, in person, by email, or by mail. 

If you work irregular hours, work on commission, or need to claim vacation pay, you will likely need to file additional paperwork with the Labor Commissioner. You also need to submit supporting documents with any claim you file.

To File a Civil Claim, File a Petition with the Court and Have Your Employer Served with the Complaint and a Summons

You do not have to file a claim with the government to recover your money. You can sue your employer in civil court. To do this, you must file a wage theft complaint with the court and have your employer’s registered agent served with a summons to appear in court and the complaint paperwork. 

File Your Claim on Time

While you are entitled to all your wages, you cannot wait forever to assert your rights. Depending on the nature of your case, you have the following amount of time to initiate a legal action for wage theft: 

  • One year if your employer bounced a check or denied you access to your employment records;
  • Two years if your employer broke an oral promise to pay you more than minimum wage;
  • Three years if your employer failed to pay minimum wage, failed to pay overtime, failed to provide breaks, failed to give sick leave, failed to reimburse you, or made illegal deductions from your pay; and 
  • Four years if your employer breached the terms of a written contract. 

When you contact one of our attorneys immediately after recognizing wage theft, we can file your claim on time and get the best results for your case. 

We Can Help

At Bibiyan Law Group, P.C., we care deeply about the plight of employees throughout California, and we have already recovered millions on behalf of the California workforce. Our award-winning attorneys are passionate and ready to fight for your rights. If you need our help, give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation. Hablamos Español.  

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David Bibiyan is a distinguished attorney at Tomorrow Law, renowned for his expertise in employment law. With a strong focus on representing employees in various workplace disputes, he has become a trusted advocate for those facing discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues. Bibiyan’s approach is characterized by a deep understanding of both state and federal employment laws, ensuring that his clients receive knowledgeable and effective representation. His commitment to justice is evident in his dedication to each case, where he meticulously works to secure the best possible outcomes for his clients. Bibiyan’s reputation is built on a foundation of successful case resolutions, marked by his skillful negotiation and, when necessary, aggressive litigation strategies. His work at Tomorrow Law reflects a genuine passion for defending workers’ rights and promoting fair employment practices.

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