Orange County Unpaid Wages Attorney

It can be incredibly frustrating and disappointing when you have an employer who doesn’t pay you what they owe you for. When an employer doesn’t pay you the wages you deserve, it’s important that you know the law. Employees have rights under California and federal law.

If an employer violated your rights to be paid your full wages, speak with one of our experienced wage claim attorneys about your legal options. Contact the law office of Sessions & Kimball by using our online contact form or call us at (949) 380-0900 for a free consultation today.


Why You Need An Employment Lawyer

Wage violations are one of the most frustrating issues you can experience when you’re working hard. You know what your time is worth, and it’s unfair if your employer is intentionally trying to find ways to pay you less than they’ve agreed to pay you, or less than they’re legally required to pay you. If this is happening, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately. Don’t let the behavior go on for too long or your employer will think they can get away with it.

Minimum Wage Violations in California

As of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in California is $13 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and $14 per hour for employers with more than 25 employees. Employers sometimes violate minimum wage law by paying less than minimum wage or by deducting too much money from an employee’s paycheck for employee expenses.

Federal law allows employers to pay a much lower minimum wage to employees who receive tips, although they must make up the difference if the employee’s total earnings are not up to minimum wage per hour. However, in California, employers may not use a worker’s tips as a credit toward the employer’s obligation to pay minimum wage.

California Hourly Wage Violations

Employers may violate wage laws by failing to pay employees for every hour worked. Examples of this violation include:

  • Requiring employees to work “off the clock,” whether before they clock in for the day or after they clock out;.
  • Having employees work through a meal period or rest break without paying the hourly work and/or without paying the lunch or rest break premium;
  • Failing to pay employees for work-related travel time;
  • Not paying for time employees are required to spend waiting on the employer’s premises; and
  • Failing to pay for required classes and training programs.

Accrued Vacation Violations

California law does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time to employees. However, if a company has a policy that allows employees to accrue paid vacation time, then the employer must pay the employee for all earned, unused vacation at the time the employee leaves the company, regardless of the reason for the exit. These vacation wages must be paid out at the employee’s final pay rate.

Meal Periods

All California employees working at least 5 hours straight are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal period. This meal period must occur no later than at the fifth hour of work. If the employee is working for at least 10 hours, they must receive a second 30-minute meal period. If an employer offers short breaks, around 5 to 20 minutes, this does not constitute a meal period and must be compensated, according to federal law.

File A Wage Claim If Necessary

In California, if you’re not receiving the wages you’re entitled to, you are permitted to file a claim to recover those wages with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, who will investigate the claim and determine if your employer owes you any unpaid wages or benefits. Once they’ve investigated the issue, they will set up a meeting between you and your employer to see if an agreement can be reached about the unpaid wages. If this isn’t possible, a hearing officer will review the evidence and make a determination about your unpaid wages.

Make Sure You File On Time

  • If you don’t file your claim on time, you might miss out on the unpaid wages that you’re otherwise legally entitled to. The timeline is different depending on the circumstances.
  • If you are filing a claim for penalties for failure to pay wages (e.g., a bounced check) or because your employer will not provide you your personnel records, you must file within one year.
  • If you are filing a claim because your boss orally promised to pay you more than minimum wage but has failed to do so, you have two years to file.
  • If you are filing a claim because of violations for minimum wage, unpaid overtime, unpaid rest or meal breaks, sick leave, or illegal deductions from your paycheck, you must file within three years.
  • If you’re filing a claim because your employer has violated a written contract in regards to your wages, you have four years to file a claim.

Legal Help Recovering Unpaid Wages in Orange County

Our wage claim lawyers are industry leaders in California and have a successful track record recovering wages and commissions for our clients. Our Orange County law firm exclusively focuses on protecting employee rights. We want to make sure you’re being valued and that you are compensated appropriately. Contact the law office of Sessions & Kimball by using our online contact form or call us at (949) 380-0900 for a free consultation today.