2024 How to File a Wage and Hour Claim in California

Frank S. Clowney III

If you are employed in the state of California and have not received the wages you are due, you have the right to file a claim. Responsible for enforcing these laws, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office takes issues like meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, and minimum wage seriously. If you find that you’re not getting the pay you’re due, you might be wondering how to file a wage and hour claim in California. This is where a dedicated attorney can help.

In some cases, filing this type of claim can prove difficult and often leaves people feeling more confused than reassured. If you make even one mistake on your claim form, it can be used against you in the future. To ensure you’re claiming all that is available to you in the proper manner, a California wage and hour attorney who understands the state labor laws is crucial. They can help you navigate this process as you complete the right steps.

Determining if You Have a Valid Claim

The correct step to take before you even file your wage and hour claim is to determine your claim’s validity. If you find yourself in one of the following situations, you may be eligible to file this type of claim in the state:

  • You have not received minimum wage pay.
  • You have not been given payments for overtime after working eight hours a day or 40 hours in one week.
  • Law-required meal and rest breaks have not been given.
  • You have not received all the wages you are due for the work you’ve performed.
  • Any expenses paid by you on behalf of your employer have not been reimbursed.

If your situation aligns with any of those laid out above or a combination of them, you might have a valid claim on your hands.

Steps in Order to File a Wage and Hour Claim in California

Once you have determined the validity of your wage and hour claim, there are certain steps to take to ensure the success of said claim upon filing:

  • Collect necessary documentation. Before pursuing any action, you’ll want to gather all the information pertinent to your claim. This should include documents like your pay stubs and any details on the hours you’ve worked or any contacts of employment relevant to your claim.
  • Get in touch with your employer. Prior to officially filing a claim, you should make an effort to directly address your given situation with your employer. Something as simple as a small discussion can oftentimes clear up any miscommunication or confusion.
  • File the wage claim with the state Labor Commissioner’s Office. In the instances where this communication fails, or your employer refuses to address your concerns, you will want to file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. You can do so via the wage claim form on the commissioner’s website. This can be submitted online, by mail, or in person at a local branch of the commissioner’s office.
  • Allow time for the investigation to take place. After filing your claim, the Labor Commissioner’s Office will investigate and review your provided materials and claim as a whole. This process can sometimes include an interview with you, your employer, or anyone who acted as a witness to your situation.
  • Receive the resolution. The Labor Commissioner’s Office will make a decision regarding your claim based on the findings of their investigation. If they rule in your favor, you are entitled to receive due compensation.

In some cases, your claim can be denied. If this occurs, you can appeal the decision within a strict time period of 10 days after receiving the decision from the commissioner’s office. In order to do so, you can take the following steps:

  • Appeal the claim resolution decision. If the commissioner’s office denies your claim and you seek to appeal, you will need to complete and submit a Request for Review of Wage Claim decision form.
  • Seek legal action. If your appeal fails, but you still believe your claim to be valid, you have the right to pursue legal action. An experienced wage and labor law attorney can stand behind you and build a solid case. They can ensure your claim is properly filed and can follow the corrected processes to protect your rights as an employee.

Tips for a Successful Claim

Common strategies that may enhance your chances of a positive claim outcome include knowing your rights, keeping detailed records, communicating effectively, following all instructions carefully, and reviewing all settlement offers with caution.


Q: How Do I File a Wage Claim in California?

A: If you are the victim of wage theft, you can file your wage and hour claim online via the California Labor Commissioner’s Office’s website. You can also print the form off the website and return it by mail or in person at any local branch of the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Not Paying Me Correctly in California?

A: Yes, you can sue your employer for not paying you correctly. All employees residing in the state, regardless of immigration status, have the legal right to file a wage claim against their employer when that employer refuses to pay them their owed wages or give them the benefits they are due. Your employer is required to pay you by specific deadlines, and if they do not, you can file a wage claim.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Wage Claim in California?

A: The exact timeline of a wage claim in California is subject to a litany of factors. If your claim does not settle and you are forced to pursue legal action, this timeline can be pushed out to many months or even years. Otherwise, factors like your unique situation, the willingness of your employer, and the amount of monetary value of your claim can all affect the timeline.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for California Wage and Hour Claims?

A: In the state, you must file your wage and hour claim for any violations of overtime, minimum wage, or illegal deductions within three years. If your claim is based on an oral promise, you have two years to file this claim. Any claim made on a written contract has a statute of limitations of four years.

Let The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney, III, Assist You With Your Wage Claim Today

While the reality is that filing a wage claim can be a daunting task, the good news is that you don’t have to do so alone. Contact The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney, III, today. We’re here to ensure you understand your rights and will do everything we can to fight for and protect those rights.