California Unpaid Wages Attorney

A California unpaid wages attorney from Dychter Law Offices can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if your employer failed to appropriately pay you for your work.

Looking for a California Unpaid Wages Attorney?

In California, employers are required to pay their employees in a timely manner. If you are a victim of unpaid wages, your employer is breaking the law. A California unpaid wages attorney can help you get the money you deserve and ensure that no one else is subject to the same treatment that you have been suffering.

At Dychter Law Offices, wage disputes are a significant part of our employment law practice. Unfortunately, employers are always trying to find ways to cut corners and save money in their business and that regularly means that they try and cut back on their expenses related to the employees that work for them. While we would hope that taking care of their employees would be the last thing to go, it’s often the first problem we see.

As a result, we help clients facing wage issues with their employers including cases that involve:

No matter your situation, Dychter Law Offices is here to help. Whether you’re facing an individual employment law claim or a complex class action lawsuit, we’ll work tirelessly to uphold your rights under the law and hold your employer accountable for their actions.

Unpaid Wages: California Laws & Guidelines


Unpaid wage claims are usually based on a violation of federal, state, or local labor laws. While there are many laws protecting California workers, most notable are the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Wage Theft Protection Act, and Assembly Bill 5.

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the foundation for labor law and unpaid wage claims in the United States. This federal law establishes the minimum guidelines employers must follow in all states, creating a minimum wage as well as regulations for overtime, recordkeeping, and paying minors for work.

State laws have been enacted to further protect California workers. Introduced in 2011, the Wage Theft Protection Act establishes additional protections against wage theft. This law mandates that employers provide non-exempt employees with written information on their compensation and benefits. Additionally, under California’s Assembly Bill 5, it is harder for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors.


California’s Minimum Wage Laws

An employee is entitled to the highest applicable minimum wage at their place of work. The federal minimum wage for a non-exempt employee is $7.25 per hour. But, California’s minimum wage is higher. Additionally, the State of California has approved an annual increase to the state’s minimum wage until 2023. It is planned that in 2023 every employer will have to pay a minimum wage of $15. A failure to pay employees the minimum wage per hour violates CA wage and hour laws.


Unpaid Overtime Violations

Although there are exemptions to overtime law, unless you fall into these categories, you are entitled to receive overtime pay. So, if you are a non-exempt employee, and you have worked more than 8 hours in a workday, more than 40 hours per workweek, or on the seventh consecutive workday, your employer has to pay for your overtime work. Failure to pay overtime compensations is also a violation of CA wage and hour laws.


Other Labor Code Violations

Under the CA Labor Code, an employee is entitled to meal or rest breaks during a workday, based on the number of hours worked. For example, an employer has to provide an employee with a meal break if he or she works more than 5 hours. Rest breaks are also mandatory for non-exempt employees; they are entitled to 10-minutes rest breaks after every 4 hours of work.

CA Labor Code also states that an employer must pay employees for working off-the-Clock, allow them to use paid sick leave, as well as compensate them for unused vacation time upon termination. If an employer fails to do so, an employee is entitled to recover damages by filing a wage claim.


What Happens When California Unpaid Wages Laws Are Violated?

Paired with federal statutes, California has some of the most comprehensive wage laws in the nation. When an employer fails to uphold the rights of their workers under these laws, they must be held accountable, and employees may be eligible to pursue compensation with the help of a California wage and hour attorney.

How to File a California Labor Board Unpaid Wages Lawsuit


If your employer failed to properly compensate you for your work, you can file an unpaid wage lawsuit in one of two ways: with the California Labor Commissioner‘s Office or in court. If you choose to file a claim with the California Labor Board, you can view instructions on submitting a wage claim, including the form you’ll need to submit, at the Labor Commissioner’s How to File a Wage Claim page. 


How to Report Unpaid Wages

Whether you report unpaid wages through the Labor Board or through a standard court proceeding, you should always hire a lawyer when facing a wage and hour dispute. This is especially important if you have a large or complex wage claim or if you aren’t comfortable filing one yourself.

A skilled San Francisco labor lawyer can submit a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office on your behalf or file a lawsuit in court to collect your unpaid earnings. If you win your lawsuit, your lawyer can ask the judge to make your employer pay your attorneys’ fees.

California Unpaid Wages Penalties & Compensation


In California, companies that break wage and hour laws can be slapped with serious penalties. If you carried out a job, the law states that you must be paid for it in accordance with state and federal guidelines and the terms of your employment contract.

In any type of unpaid wage action against your employer, you will be pursuing monetary compensation for the earnings you were not paid by your employer. Called “damages” instead of penalties, this form of payment is designed to compensate employees for the losses they have suffered.

For example, you may be entitled to get one hour of pay for every day that you were denied your meal period or one or more rest periods. In case you experienced a minimum wage violation, you may be entitled to a sum equal to the amount of unpaid compensation. If your employer failed to provide you with paid sick leave, you might be entitled to receive three times the value of the sick leave that was withheld or $250, up to a total of $4,000.


Interest on Unpaid Wages California

In addition to damages, businesses may face additional penalties or fines for breaching the rights of their employees. Such penalties include an interest rate of up to 10% per year on any unpaid wages. This is meant not just to penalize the employer, but also to discourage them from continuing to participate in this type of activity in the future.

Under the California Labor Code, an employer can not retaliate against an employee for fighting for their rights under wage and hour laws. If an employer fires the employee, that is considered wrongful termination. In addition, if an employer takes other actions against an employee for filing a wage claim, the employee may have an additional cause of action against the employer.

If you believe you may have been cheated out of the wages you have rightfully earned, we invite you to seek legal advice and advocacy from our San Diego employment attorneys, beginning with a free consultation.

How Long Should You Wait Before Suing for Unpaid Wages?

Whether you choose to report a wage violation with the Labor Board or file a formal lawsuit, you must act quickly. Statutes of limitations apply to employment-related claims, and the longer you wait, the less time your lawyer will have to build a strong case in your favor. If you fail to meet these strict time limits, you may lose your ability to obtain fair compensation altogether.

In California, you have to file a claim within three years from the date of the most recent violation of a statutory right, such as your right to minimum wage, breaks, or overtime pay. If your wage claim is based on a written employment contract, you have four years to take legal action, while a two-year statute of limitations applies in the case of an oral contract.

To be safe, it’s best to pursue your wage claim as soon as you realize that you’re owed overdue earnings. If you are unsure which legal category your case falls under and whether the statute of limitations has passed yet, a reputable California wage and hour law firm can evaluate your situation and determine whether you should move forward with a lawsuit.

Reach Out to Us and Begin Your Unpaid Wages Claim Today

If your employer failed to properly compensate you for your work, Dychter Law Offices is on your side. Based in Downtown San Diego and serving clients in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Bakersfield, Riverside, San Jose, Orange County, Los Angeles, and beyond, we focus on employment law and class action suits, and we boast a strong track record of successfully representing employees in unpaid wage lawsuits.

Paying for an attorney is often a big concern for people, and we understand that. As a result, we handle all of our employment cases involving wage and compensation disputes on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay us out of pocket to represent you in your case, and we won’t get paid until you do.