How to Report Unpaid Wages in California

By Gregory Thyberg on September 18, 2019


Individual writing a checkEmployment laws are in place to enforce safe work environments that are free of discrimination. Additionally, these laws are meant to ensure that employees are paid fair wages in a timely manner. Despite state and federal employment laws, there are cases in which employers deny workers the full wages they are due.

When workers do not receive full payment for their work, they have the right to file a wage and hours claim to seek compensation for missing wages. At Thyberg Law in Sacramento, CA, attorney Gregory Thyberg can assist clients in reporting unpaid wages in California so that they do not have to suffer the financial and emotional hardships of wage violations.

Filing a Wage Claim

The first step in reporting unpaid wages in California is to make a formal wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. To initiate the claim, a worker must file an “Initial Report or Claim,” which is also known as DLSE Form 1 through the State of California Department of Industrial Relations. The DLSE Form 1 asks for basic information about the employer and employee, the employee’s work schedule, and the type and amount of wages that are unpaid.

Depending on the type of wages that are due, additional forms may be necessary. There are supplemental forms for:

  • Unpaid commissions
  • Unpaid vacation time
  • Varying or irregular work hours
  • Claims of retaliation for reporting unpaid wages

Sacramento workers can file all necessary forms online, via email, or in person at the local DLSE office. Most unpaid wage claims need to be filed within three years. There are some exceptions to this deadline, so it is important to file a claim as quickly as possible to avoid missing out on the opportunity to collect wages that are due.

Additional Documentation

When an unpaid wage claim is filed, no additional documents are required. However, as the department begins to investigate the claim, additional documentation can be helpful. The more evidence that an employee can provide, the stronger their unpaid wage claim will be. Documents that may be obtained from either an employer or employee throughout the course of an unpaid wages claim include:

  • Notice to Employee, a form that is required at the time of hire
  • Time records for hours worked
  • Paystubs
  • Any bounced checks that may have been received
  • Employment contract or any additional documentation that supports claims of promised wages

Do I Need an Attorney?

Individuals are not required to hire an attorney when reporting unpaid wages in California, but they do have a right to legal representation. Wage claims can be complex, and getting necessary documentation is time consuming, so many individuals choose to hire an attorney when filing a wage claim.

Sacramento attorney Gregory Thyberg can help clients in filling out forms, getting them filed in a timely manner, and obtaining documentation that will strengthen the case. An attorney can be especially helpful if no settlement is reached and the claim goes to a hearing.

Contact Us

If you have been denied wages, it is important that you file a claim as quickly as possible. To learn more about filing a wage claim and how attorney Gregory Thyberg can help, contact us at your earliest convenience. You can also call (916) 204-9173 to schedule a consultation.

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