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Studies show that as many as 4 out of 5 employees are the victims of wage theft. If your employer owes you money, you have the right to immediately file a labor board complaint against your employer and have your case heard by a California Labor Commissioner-appointed judge. The judge is authorized to issue a judgment against your employer awarding you unpaid wages, penalties, attorney fees and interest. The labor board does not charge any filing fees or other costs. California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has stated that she is committed to protecting the wage rights of undocumented or illegal immigrants. It is against the law for an employer to threaten employees based on their immigration status.

Under California labor laws and associated wage orders, employers are required to give non-exempt employees who work or reside in the State of California the following wage rights:

Rest Breaks

  • – a 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 3.5 hours in a day
  • – a second 10-minute paid rest break if you work more than 6 hours in a day

Meal Breaks

  • – a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a day
  • – a second 30-minute meal break if you work more than 10 hours in a day


  • – time and a half if you work
    • a) more than 8 hours in a day,
    • b) more than 40 hours in a week, or
    • c) seven days in a row in a work week
  • – double time if you work
    • a) more than 12 hours in a day, or
    • b) more than 8 hours on the seventh day in a row in a work week

Last Paycheck

If you have been terminated or laid off, you are entitled to receive your final wages upon termination or on your last day of work.

If you resign, you are entitled to receive your final paycheck within 72 hours after your last day of work.

You final wages must include any unpaid vacation pay (but not sick leave pay).


A manager or supervisor (even if part-time) is not legally allowed to take from your tips or the tip pool. The law treats this as tip theft.

Driving Mileage Reimbursements

If you are required to drive from your employer’s office to a job site, your employer is required to pay you a mileage reimbursement at the IRS standard mileage rate. As of January 1, 2018, that rate is 54.5 cents per mile. If your employer has failed to do this, your claim could be large – thousands of dollars.


Your employer is not permitted to take deductions out of your paycheck unless you have agreed to it in writing. Even if your employer has loaned you money, he cannot make any deductions without your written consent. If this is occurring, you are entitled to recover not only the moneys that were deducted, but any attorney fees you have incurred.


If you complain to your employer or the Labor Board about any of the above wage violations, the law prohibits retaliation against you. Retaliation could include a reduction of your work hours, demotion, pay cuts, suspension, termination, etc. If you are the victim of retaliation, you are entitled to file a retaliation complaint with the California Labor Board.


Filing a wage complaint with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (otherwise known as the Labor Board or DLSE), can take as little as 30 minutes on the phone.

Even if you believe you are owed as little as a few hundred dollars, the penalties that apply under the California Labor Code can be thousands of dollars. Penalties include waiting time penalties, liquidated damages penalties, bounced check penalties, etc.

What You Need to File a Complaint

If you have any of the following documents, please have them ready when you call:

How Long the Complaint Process Takes

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.

The Steps in the Complaint Process

The first step is to fill out a Form 1 labor board complaint. You will typically need to also fill out a Form 55 attachment that sets out each amount you are owed for each pay period you worked for the employer. If you have a retaliation claim, you will also need to fill out a Form RCI-1.

If you need help with these forms, call us at (213) 992-3299 as the forms can be more complicated than they appear. Incorrect complaints are typically rejected by the labor board and need to be corrected before they can be re-filed. The re-filing process can take weeks or months. We can prepare the forms correctly for you in as little as a few hours.

Incorrectly filled out complaint

Same complaint after correction

In the above example, the claimant had submitted a complaint to the labor board that alleged only $1,274.97 in unpaid straight time and that lacked the required Form 55 calculation exhibit. After correction, an amended complaint was re-submitted that alleged $20,512.34 in unpaid straight time, overtime, meal and rest break premiums, liquidated damages, records penalties and waiting time penalties. In addition, required supporting calculation exhibits, including Form 55, were attached. The amended complaint package was accepted by the labor board.

Next, you need to file your complaint with the correct DLSE office. There are 18 regional DLSE offices assigned to the various cities in California. Which DLSE office you must apply to depends on which city you worked in. Again, this can be trickier than it first seems, as the office that is closest to the city where you worked isn’t always the correct DLSE office to file in. Also DLSE office city assignments are subject to change. Filing with the wrong DLSE office can cause months of delay and often requires that you simply re-file your complaint with the correct DLSE office.

If you need help with this, give us a call at (213) 992-3299. We can ensure your complaints are filed with the correct DLSE office.

After your complaint is filed, you will receive a notice of conference from the labor board, typically in 6 to 8 months. At the conference, which you, your employer, and/or your attorneys are required to attend, the commissioner will ask questions, confirm information, and finalize your labor board complaint, which you will then sign.

After that, the final hearing (trial) takes place, in as little as a few months to as long as 2 years after the conference. You will typically have to request subpoenas from the labor board and have them personally served on your employer and any witnesses to ensure you have the evidence you need to win your trial. At trial, you must present to the hearing officer a copy of all documents and provide all witnesses required to support your claim.

The hearing officer will issue an ODA (order, decision or adjudication) within 15 days after the trial (although in reality, the wait can be months). The parties will then have 10 to 15 days to appeal. If there is an appeal, the whole process starts completely over, except this time, your complaint is transferred from the labor board to a California State superior court.

If you have won your trial and/or any appeal, you will be issued a judgment. Then you must begin your collection efforts. The labor board typically does not assist you with collection, although it depends on your claim and your employer.

If you need assistance with any of the above, give us a call anytime at (213) 992-3299 and talk to an expert now.

DLSE Offices

7718 Meany Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93308
(661) 587-3060

[email protected]

San Diego
7575 Metropolitan Dr.,
Room 210

San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 220-5451
[email protected]
El Centro
1550 W. Main St.
El Centro, CA 92243
(760) 353-0607
San Francisco
455 Golden Gate Ave.,
10th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 703-5300
[email protected]
770 E. Shaw Avenue,
Ste. 222

Fresno, CA 93710
(559) 244-5340

[email protected]

San Jose
100 Paseo de San Antonio,
Room 120

San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 277-1266
[email protected]
Long Beach
300 Oceangate,
Suite 302

Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 590-5048
[email protected]
Santa Ana
605 West Santa Ana Blvd., Bldg. 28,
Room 625

Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 558-4910
[email protected]
Los Angeles
320 W. Fourth Street,
Suite 450

Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 620-6330
[email protected]
Santa Barbara
411 E. Canon Perdido,
Room 3

Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 568-1222
PID 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM,
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]
1515 Clay Street,
Suite 801

Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-3273
[email protected]
Santa Rosa
50 “D” Street,
Suite 360

Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 576-2362
PID 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM,
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]
250 Hemsted Drive,
2nd Floor, Suite A

Redding, CA 96002
(530) 225-2655
PID 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM,
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]
31 E. Channel Street,
Room 317

Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 948-7771
PID Hours effective 5/1/18
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM,
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]
2031 Howe Avenue,
Suite 100

Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 263-1811
[email protected]
Van Nuys
6150 Van Nuys Blvd.,
Room 206

Van Nuys, CA 91401
(818) 901-5315
[email protected]
950 E. Blanco Rd.,
Suite 204

Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 443-3041
PID 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM,
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
[email protected]
Van Nuys – Entertainment Work Permits
6150 Van Nuys Blvd.,
Room 100

Van Nuys, CA 91401
(818) 901-5484
Walk In Service Available At This Location:
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Monday and Friday
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
San Bernardino
464 W. Fourth Street,
Room 348

San Bernardino, CA 92401
(909) 383-4334
[email protected]


  1. Boriana on October 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Looking for my rights to receive my payroll check on time

    • Eugene Lee on October 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      Please give us a call at 213-992-3299 and we’ll be happy to walk you through it.

  2. Nik Mayur on August 30, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    As a longtime employee with a healthcare organization being paid through Cynet Systems and Cynet Health based in Virgina. I have stuck by them through their Caucasian fiasco . (search for “Cynet Caucasian” on google for more information). However, I am forced to write this complaint because they never pay many of us healthcare workers on time particularly overtime benefits and training payments. Their HR team is incompetent and talking with them is futile. They have taken advantage of Covid by forcing their remote employees in Philippines and India to work long hours and weekends with little pay and no incentives. (Many of these employees make only $200 per month) They have tried to earn employees goodwill by claiming to not do layoffs. However, a quick search on SBO’s website shows that they have been given $5 MILLION dollars from Covid CARES government funding. This dis-ingenuity is appalling and illegal to receive funding when we are being paid directly by hospitals while exploiting their poorly paid remote employees. I am considering bringing this up with TJC.

    Advice to Management
    – Make payments to us on time. We bring revenue by risking our lives and working in hospitals during a pandemic.
    – Stop claiming to be heroes to your employees by pretending to care for them while abusing their goodness and extracting evenings and weekend work for no additional pay or with pay cuts. Be transparent and truthful with them.
    – Stop abusing government programs by making millions of dollars from grants during the pandemic. (source: https://sba.app.box.com/s/wz72fqag1nd99kj3t9xlq49deoop6gzf)

  3. Wendy Alexander on July 28, 2020 at 12:17 am

    I just need help with this.

  4. Paul on July 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I left my job 2 weeks ago. I have not gotten a unemployment, disability, or wages since I left the week of July 4th, June 30th was last day. So this week I decided to use all my personal time, 22.66 hrs Vac. About $750 gross. When I receive my stub, I only net $410. Payroll, has again, deducted Not 1 med payment, but 2. I did niot give her permission to use vacation check monies to pay anything. I thought I have 60 days to elect coverage and can pay then at or the day before 60days has passed. She took 35.6% of my vacation hrs net. $235. This is not the first time.

  5. me on July 21, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Do not trust the County

  6. Antonio Hightower on July 15, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I called a, nd spoke with someone and I was refered to this website. The person I spoke with saidit would be faster this way.
    Here is my delema I work for a company and did not get paid. I work nights and for five years from 2015 up till 2020 I was not paid nightdiferential wages. I believe I am entitled to this. I hope that someone can get back to me ASAP, thank you for your time. I can be reached at 510-386-9162, my email is [email protected] if you need further inforormation please dont hesitate to let me know.

    Again thank you and look forward to your response,
    Sincerely Antonio Hightower

  7. Jess on July 7, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Hi, I have a question about hair stylist in California. I currently get paid commission and only commission. I can be at the salon all day while still having to help around and not making a single dollar since I had no client. I’ve heard from a few people that I cant be getting paid like this anymore, that I should be getting paid for the time that I’m there while not having a clinet?

    • Salvador Alvarado on August 15, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      How many miles got so the I can get paid for per-diem I m driving from Beaumont ca t Manhattan Beach in I don’t get it paid for per-diem I drive 96 miles Each way

    • Andy hale on August 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      I got hire as a mechanical inspector and i told the owner that i been off this field for 10 so i need maybe 2 week to practice to use the equipment the next work day he put me on meeting with our biggest customer to have an explanation about our product with bad quality that they not satisfy.which i dont know any thing about it( owner try to put me on the position to take a blame) and i got funny feeling. Then i walk out on him 4 time , he call me back and offer me another $5 and hour add into my pay so i stay( though he really want me work there) then used me to build the clean room then i go buy material and spent my own time on weekend work on it after all i spend li k e $6500 so him all the receipt

  8. J on July 7, 2020 at 3:10 am

    When an employe has a complain and makes a complain 40 days later gets terminated with no resolution then 44th day its told that their no wrong doing from their parts.

  9. jewels mcdonald on June 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

    My employer is procrastinating on giving my final check. I had left since last month, I called and emailed, no communication whatsoever. The employer received his PPP and told his employees he will reduce all his their pay in half if they want to continue working for him.

  10. Peggy Flores on June 19, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Hi there – I was terminated on 2/24/2020 without warning and my sales performance more than met the requirements. I signed an At Will contract when I was hired on 5/6/2019, and was wondering if my employer can let me go like this without any warning. The reason they gave me at my termination was a “change in direction” I’m 52 years old and Latina. A younger employee on the team, who was hired after me and had lower sales than me was kept on. I feel I was terminated because perhaps I was not a culture fit and am feeling I was unjustly let go.

    My employer was Fireclay Tile in San Francisco.

    Thank you,

    • Ayanna Martinez on July 1, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Hi I’m not sure how I put the wrong date in but I was actually terminated on 6/22/2020.

  11. Carley on May 10, 2020 at 12:49 am

    I got laid off with no notice

  12. Elliot on May 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    My employer has asked many of its employees to stay home due to business slow down and to use paid time off/vacation time to be paid, starting in April. Staff working in busier departments continue working as usual. Two weeks into April, company-wide pay cuts were announced. If my employer is keeping me home AND reducing my pay/wages, is that legal? I accumulated my paid time off/vacation hours while earning at a different rate. For example, if I was making $18 hourly while I accumulated my paid time off/vacation time, now I’m being deducted my paid time off/vacation time in order to be paid (because I’m stuck at home) BUT INSTEAD of being paid $18 hourly, I’m being paid the pay cut rate of $15 hourly. This seems like grounds for an unpaid wages claim, unfair labor practices and seems illegal. Any replies or advise?

  13. Rosanna Redfearn on April 13, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    My name is Rosanna Redfearn and I’m still waiting for my court date it’s going on one year. [link removed] Whoever that is has stolen my identity ? Thanks Rosanna Redfearn

  14. Loretta Masi on March 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    For the past 4 years they have me as an independent contractor working under a supervisor like an employee does only no sick pay or vacation or overtime. The condiitions are horrible rats and bugs all over the place

  15. H on March 9, 2020 at 11:55 am

    I am a county employee. The payroll clerk for my department is repeatedly messing up paychecks for multiple employees. Some losing over a thousand dollars or not getting a check without calling to fix the problem. I have chosen to get comp time for my overtime or for paid holidays that fall on my day off. He has neglected to compensate me for holiday time at least 3 times in the last year. When I questioned the missing time last month he said it would be fixed by the next payday. He has now removed all of the other time I banked and replaced it with the missing time. I have coworkers who are also wanting to join in this complaint due to the mistakes made repeatedly on their checks. Supervisors and managers are aware of the problem and have been for several months, but there has been no change. Is this something you can help with?

  16. T on March 5, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    My employer only pays for time scheduled to work, and deducts pay for tardiness but refuses to go off time punches. Is this illegal?

    • Eugene Lee on March 8, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Employers have to pay workers for all time worked on the clock. That usually means the employer has to pay according to time punches. It is also the employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate, contemporaneous time records of all time worked.

  17. Brenda Jameson on March 1, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    I am a school bus driver and am employed by a private company that is contracted out to a school district. My position is a field trip driver (instead of a home to school route driver) for student activities in the district we work for as well as other facilities and charter. While we are engaged in waiting, at the venue, for the group to come back to the bus, my company requires us to clock off and take a half hour lunch if we are working over 6 hours and a second lunch after the 10th hour. My employer is insisting that my second lunch has to be taken AT the 10 hour of work. I told her the labor and state laws say I take a second lunch AFTER the 10th hour of work. They refuse to acknowledge the law. example: I had two fields trips on the day in question. my first trip started at 8AM and ended at 1PM. My second trip started at 1PM, I took a half hour off duty lunch at 3PM, signed back on at 3:30 and was finished at 6:30PM. That is a total of exactly 10 hours that I worked for the whole day. I could not take my first lunch earlier than I did because I was driving or loading and unloading my students. My employer insisted I owe her another half hour lunch because I worked 10 hours. She deducted that second half hour out of my pay anyway without my permission. They have done this several times in the last few years and myself and the other 7 field trip drivers just except it due to them bulling and threatening us by not giving us very much work.

  18. Mee Vang on February 28, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    I quit my job on Feb 19th. Told my boss to mail me my check within 72 hours. Today is Feb 28th and I have not received my last check.

    • Eugene Lee on February 28, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      You should file a claim. That is illegal and you are entitled to penalties.

      • Destiny on August 14, 2020 at 6:12 pm

        I have a concern from 2019.
        My employer fired me without notice or warning on January 21, 2019. I notifed my employer over the phone to mail me my check. At the time I was patiently waiting, after a week I still haven’t received my check. So I called the HR department turns out my check was still in their office. They didn’t mail it out until Feb 6, 2019 and I received it a few days after that. Is this still a valid claim?

  19. Dominic on February 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Is it ok to only be paid for only 30 minutes of time for reporting pay? Can they take away vacation hours?

  20. Raider on February 24, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Is it ok to not be paid prevailing wage on a state funded job. Spent 10 work days on a job that was prevailing wage for all other trades except our boss didn’t want to pay prevailing. Concerned on if there was a way around it for him or if my co worker and I on the job got mis treated.

  21. Elli Burgos on February 10, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Please look into this company.
    They “hire” young adults under the misrepresentation of event coordinator assistants and promised a $500.00 per week.
    They have them go to an office for huddle and daily goals then dispatch them in their own cars to different locations.
    They are then forced to stay there until 8 pm or until a minimum of $300.00 is raised. They then drove back to office for recap and spend another hour or so there.
    They work 6 days a week over 10 hour days to receive a paystub for $400.00 minus tax deductions and description of pay is “commissions “the name
    Of the company is Pacific Proceeds inc.
    i personally know 2-4 people they are doing this to.
    I will be checking back for your reply and feed back.

    Thank you. Elli

  22. Eileen M GOnzales on February 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    My paycheck was not given to me after working many hours during sept octobe nov, dec and january.

    • Miguel on February 13, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Is it ok for a supervisor yo say , Iget pay to be an Ass Hole!!!.

    • Susan on February 19, 2020 at 11:13 pm

      Is it o.k to be demoted a few months after work comp documented injury? To lose promotion pay raise as well as previous raise received 4 months prior for top performance? Reason given was that lost raises were taken due to less availability from work comp dr. Restrictions of work week and limited hrs per day? Ex: normal hours 8 hrs per day 5 days a week. To 6hrs max days, 4days per week on work comp Dr. work restrictions?

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