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What are the Deadlines for Filing a Wage Claim?

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

  • You must file claims based on an oral promise to pay more than minimum wage within 2 years.

  • You must file claims based on a written contract within four years.

Who can file?
California labor laws protect all workers regardless of immigration status. The labor Commissioner accepts complaints from any employee who performed work in California, and in some cases from public employees.

How Long Does The Complaint Process Take?

Resolving your wage complaint can take as little as a few weeks to as many as a few years. There are many factors involved, including how complicated your complaint is, how backlogged the commissioner and labor board office assigned to your case is, how willing your employer is to settle, whether your employer decides to appeal, etc.

Where can I get help?
You may go to your local office of the Labor Commissioner to ask for help with your claim. many nonprofit organizations, including legal Service providers, help workers fill out and file claims with the labor Commissioner. 

When will I receive my unpaid wages?
It depends. Many claims settle and you receive your settlement either when you sign the settlement agreement or based on the agreed date of payment. If your case does not settle, the hearing and decision process may take several months.

If you win and your employer does not pay, you have a number of collection methods available, such as requesting that the Sheriff to seize your employer’s assets (such as bank accounts, equipment, or inventory). 

How does my claim affect other people in my workplace who experienced the same violations?

Your individual claim should not affect your co-workers.
Co-workers who experienced the same wage violations will not recover their unpaid wages unless they file their own wage claims.

You may also consider filing a Report of Labor Law Violation with the Labor Commissioner’s Bureau of Field Enforcement (B of E), the unit that investigates wage theft violations that affect groups of workers.

Co-workers may recover wages as a result of a B of E investigation.

What if my boss fires, demotes or punishes me for filing this claim?

California law prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for enforcing workplace rights. If your employer retaliates against you, you can
file a complaint for retaliation with the Labor Commissioner’s Retaliation Complaint Unit.

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