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Proving an unpaid wages claim can be difficult, and it requires sufficient evidence that you did not receive proper wages for all the work you performed. Always discuss your situation with a California unpaid wages attorney. 

The California Labor Code has strict requirements for employers to pay employees the agreed-upon wages for all time worked. Even if you are not paid for 15 minutes per day, such as while you set up or clean up, that time adds up quickly, as do the unpaid wages. You deserve back pay for all the time you worked and did not receive the proper wages. 

Proving an unpaid wages claim is no simple matter, however, especially since your employer is likely to fight liability and state they did not violate wage laws. In order to prove your claim, you will need to provide sufficient evidence of the wage theft, and you should do so with the help of a California unpaid wages attorney.

How to File a Wage Claim in California?

Filing a wage claim in California is a crucial step toward obtaining the unpaid wages you rightfully deserve. To ensure a successful claim, it is advisable to consult an attorney who knows the ins and outs of wage and hour laws.

A wage attorney can guide you through the complex process, helping you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim. They can assist in collecting pay stubs, timecards, employment contracts, and any other relevant documents that demonstrate your employer’s failure to pay you properly.

Additionally, an attorney can help you navigate the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, where wage claims are filed. They can ensure that all required forms are filled out correctly, deadlines are met, and necessary documentation is submitted. This level of experience can significantly increase your chances of a successful claim.

How Long Does It Take to File a Wage Claim?

Filing a wage claim can be a complex process, and the time it takes to resolve your claim can vary depending on several factors. It is important to understand that every case is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. 

First, it is crucial to gather all the necessary evidence to support your wage claim. This may include pay stubs, timesheets, employment contracts, and any other documentation that can demonstrate your entitlement to unpaid wages. Once you have gathered all the evidence, you can consult with an attorney to assess the strength of your claim and determine the best course of action.

The next step is to file a complaint with the appropriate government agency or court. The specific timeframe for filing a wage claim will depend on the jurisdiction and the applicable statute of limitations. 

The length of time it takes to file a wage claim will depend on various factors, including the complexity of your case, the availability of evidence, and the specific legal procedures involved.

Common Wage Claims

Unpaid wages can be a significant problem for employees, but you don’t have to face it alone. Some common wage claims include unpaid overtime, misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime, minimum wage violations, failing to compensate employees for missed breaks or interrupted meals, and unpaid commissions. These issues can arise in numerous industries and can significantly impact your finances.

If you believe you have a valid wage claim, it’s essential to gather evidence to support your case. This evidence may include pay stubs, timecards, employment contracts, witness testimony, and any other relevant documentation. A San Diego employment attorney can help you understand what evidence is necessary and guide you through the process of collecting it.

When dealing with unpaid wages, you need to act promptly. Don’t delay in seeking legal assistance, as there are deadlines for filing your claim. The statute of limitations for most wage claims is three years from the date the wages were due. By consulting with an attorney as soon as possible, you can protect your rights and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Gather Evidence to File Claim

Pay Statements and Time Sheets

The most direct evidence of the wages you did or did not receive will be your pay statements and records of the hours you worked. Some employees have timesheets showing when they “clocked” in or out of work, but these timesheets will not necessarily reflect the true hours worked. This is because your employer might require you to conduct work before or after you clock in or out, resulting in unpaid wages

You might need to show other evidence of the hours you worked, such as calendars, building entry records, notes you kept, and more. Your lawyer will have the best idea of what can serve as proper proof of the hours you worked to compare them with the hours for which you were paid.  

Employer Policies, Handbooks, or Other Communications

Some companies might put policies into writing regarding off-the-clock work or other wage theft tactics. You might be able to present handbooks with such policies to prove what is required of you as an employee. 

Often, a supervisor will simply send an email or engage in another communication to tell an employee they must work off the clock. This could be as simple as a message stating, “You need to come in earlier each day to set up before you clock in.” Even informal communications can become important evidence in an unpaid wage claim. 

Testimony of Others at Work

Often, employer policies regarding off-the-clock work apply to many different employees – not just you. In this case, you can seek the testimony of others you work with to back up your claims. If several employees have unpaid wages due to the same work off the clock, you might be able to join your unpaid wage claims together, which can save resources. 

Speak with a California Unpaid Wages Attorney

Unpaid wage claims require presenting sufficient evidence of your employer’s violations, and you can expect that your employer will not make this easy for you in many cases. You need the help of a California unpaid wages lawyer from Mara Law Firm to make sure you know how to prove your claim and obtain the back pay you deserve. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online for a case evaluation today. 

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

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