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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 2 to 4 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 1 year 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]

Client Review
Very professional, the process was explained to me in a manner that was clear and easy to understand. I was lucky enough to work with Eugene directly and am very satisfied with the way my car was resolved


  1. Gustavo rodriguez on December 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I have other questions that I would like to ask regarding taxes but don’t know who to contact.

  2. Michael Higginbotham Sr. on December 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I worked for a security company here in Northern California which has a bad history of paying there officers late. We were supposed to be paid on 11/30/18 which included holiday pay for Thanksgiving our supervisor claimed she did not know what was going on with our checks so we waited until 12/01/18 and still had not got paid nor could we contact the office or higher ups later on that night I found out the company closed its doors due to going bankrupt and did no say one work to we officers. My supervisor told us that a sister company picked up current contracts and would offer us a payroll advance in leu of the past pay we did not get. Needless to say the new company backed out of that offer still expected us to work and in the old company uniforms I almost forgot to mention my supervisor to me she did get the offered payroll advancement and was disciplined for telling officers she received hers while officers like myself are living pay to pay and possibly evicted behind not getting paid.. HELP PLEASE This issues affects about 20 officers

  3. Joaquin on November 28, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    And I thought the min wage was 13.25 in Los Angeles county.

    • Eugene Lee on November 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Yes, but only for unincorporated cities. Redondo and Manhattan Beach are incorporated cities so they fall under the minimum wage for the State of California generally.

  4. mel G. on November 28, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I was hired as a full time employee and iam lucky if 30 hrs a week.
    I have been job harassment by the owner several times .
    The car iam driving is dirty bad carpet has a mold.unhealthy car to use for business .
    Take out numbers of time hours from my time sheet.

  5. Joaquin Moraga on November 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I work at a dry cleaners. Found the job on Craigslist promising 13$ per hour full time. Been getting paid 12$ per hour and I’d be EXTREMELY lucky if I’ve worked 30+ hours in a week. Now I’m at different store but same owner in Redondo Beach. My manager had said Manhattan beach specifically has a lowered min wage. Well even if that’s so, well I’m in Redondo Beach store now. I’ve only been working at this company for about 3 months. I wanna know what’s the real min wage for Manhattan beach and Redondo Beach? If I’m making less then min wage what are my options? Mind you this company has more then 25 employees so they are considered a larger company.

    • Eugene Lee on November 27, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      Minimum wage for Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach is the same: $11 for large employers, $10.50 for small employers (25 employees or less) since 1/1/18. At $12/hr, you are making more than the minimum wage for large employers. So I don’t think there’s a minimum wage violation here. However, if you were promised $13/hr but only paid $12/hr, you could have a claim for the $1/hr difference.

      • Joaquin on November 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

        I have the .org posting from Craigslist that states the job offering was at 13$ per hour full time. And after working more then a week I realized I was being paid only 12. I would like to see how much opening a case could be worth if possible

        And thank you for such a quick response

  6. Christopher Ulm on November 11, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    No Comment

  7. Jocelynne Dunlap on November 8, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    In the other section I didn’t have enough room to explain the suspect time clock procedure, I have complained and tolerated this for over a year now, even while I was at their Mazda store, which was worse. Please call and I will provide more details.

  8. Jocelynne Dunlap on November 8, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    In the other section I didn’t have enough room to explain the suspect time clock procedure, I know this affects other employees not just me.

  9. Venia Royston on November 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    I am wondering if I have a case. On 10-5-2018 I clocked in @ 9am. My manager nd HR Manager came about 10:30a, stating they were there to complete an Compliance Audit. They ended up suspending me, claiming until they complete the audit, they did not provide me with any documentation as to why I was being suspended. I have worked there for almost two years, have never had any disciplinary documentation written on me, my performance or anything else. The new manager has been discriminatory against me (African American women over 40yrs) since she came on board. Someone removed my 9a punch, so when payroll ran 10/8/2018 my 8 hours of pay was not included. Then they decided they were going to terminate me on 10/12/2018, however I never received my wages for 10/5/2018. Isn’t there a waiting period penalty up to 30 days where I am entitled to my regular pay for everyday I wait to receive my pay? Please help!

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