My employer is not paying me correctly; what can I do in California?

If you are a California worker who believes your employer is not paying you correctly, there are several things you can do to recover your owed wages. One of the first steps you should take is to discuss the issue with your employer. If you are still not paid properly and in full, you may have to file a claim for unpaid wages.

Workers have the right to take legal action against their employer for committing wage-related violations. Employers are required to pay employees according to the laws set out in the California Labor Code. They are subject to a civil penalty for not paying their workers on time, whether willfully or mistakenly.

All workers have the right to receive their earned wages in full and on time. In California, unpaid wages can include regular pay, overtime pay, commissions, meal and rest breaks, business reimbursements, the final paycheck upon terminating employment, and more. 

You may have a wage theft claim for a variety of reasons. For example, your employer may have misclassified you as an independent contractor to avoid paying you overtime, or they may have withheld wages after you quit your job.

Workers can file a claim for wage theft with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or a federal agency. You can also bring a wage and hour lawsuit against your employer to recover the owed pay.

To do so, you must gather evidence to show that your employer failed to pay you your owed wages. Key types of evidence can include your paystubs, timecards, employment contracts, communication records with human resources or management about unpaid wages, and other relevant documents.

If you are successful, you can recover your unpaid wages, backpay, and additional damages from your employer. The court may also impose additional penalties.

As with other types of employment lawsuits, California has a statute of limitations for wage and hour claims. If you are looking to recover your unpaid wages, it is important to act fast. Once the statute of limitations expires, you may lose your right to recover the owed wages. Under state law, workers have three years from the date of their last paycheck to file an unpaid wage claim.

Hiring a skilled employment lawyer gives you the best chance of getting the full pay that your employer owes you. In some cases, it may be possible to file a class action lawsuit with other coworkers who are in a similar situation as you to get your employer to change their unlawful pay practices. Your attorney can advise you on the most effective approach for recovering the unpaid wages.

To learn more, talk to an experienced Oakland employment lawyer as soon as possible. Erlich Law Firm has experience resolving all types of California wage theft cases. Attorney Jason Erlich is dedicated to helping workers recover their hard-earned wages.

We can help you understand your next steps and your rights as a worker, including whether you have grounds to sue your employer. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

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Jason took the time to explain and guide me through the challenging process, and went the extra steps in consistently providing guidance and putting my concerns and questions high on their list.

Jeff V., Oakland

Jason Erlich made me feel like I was in the right place right away.I had some serious problems with a previous employer and he took care of everything. From the start he helped with my concerns and fears going up against a big corporation.

Susan W., Pacifica

With Jason’s expertise, commitment and aggressiveness, the case is now over and it’s only been 6 months!! I would HIGHLY recommend Jason Erlich to anyone that needs an employment lawyer.

Carla, Petaluma

I can highly recommend Jason Erlich Esq. for any employment law matter. He is an outstanding lawyer, embodies a mix of honesty, knowledge, client care and tough mindset.

Roger J., Oakland

When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.