What Is the Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Wages?
If you have not received unpaid wages from your employer, it might take some time before you begin to notice. This is especially likely if you worked flexible hours at different rates and had variable paychecks. When you do discover the discrepancy, it is important to hire a lawyer for unpaid wages and begin to build your case.
Employers know there is a statute of limitations and will often try to drag negotiations out so that the time expires before you can be paid. The statute of limitations differs based on the circumstances, but the time ranges from one year to four years.
What Are California’s Statutes of Limitations?
In California, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations encourages workers to file claims in a timely manner. These are the time restrictions provided by the department for filing wage claims:
- Within four years if you have a written contract
- Within three years for violations related to overtime, minimum wage, meal breaks, unpaid rest, unpaid reimbursements and illegal deductions
- Within two years if you received an oral promise to be paid more than the minimum wage
- Within one year if you were charged penalties for a bounced check or if you did not receive access to your payroll records
Where Can Workers Get Information To Build a Case?
Before hiring an attorney for unpaid wages, it’s important to gather all the necessary information you can. If you are not sure what information you need, consider the following tips from the Department of Industrial Relations.
Track Your Paychecks
Most medium-to-large employers provide electronic access to your paystubs online. If you work for a smaller company, you might only receive a physical printout of your pay stub. Keep copies of this information. You might need them to show the money you received versus what you should have been paid. If you do not have access to this, check your bank account for checks cashed and direct deposit payments.
Add Up Hours Worked
Unless you are a salaried worker, how many hours you spent on the job will make a difference in your claim. Hours can determine not just whether you received the right total for each hour worked but also whether you qualify as a full-time worker or should receive any special benefits or bonuses.
Gather Employer Information
You need important information about the employer to file your claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. This includes the address and name of the company or individual. You should find this information on the paystub, product labels or mailing labels. If the names do not match or you are unable to find the information, write down your employer’s license plate number.
How Can Workers Choose the Right Lawyers for Their Cases?
When choosing an employment law attorney for unpaid wages, choose an experienced professional who is willing to go up against corporations. You also need professionals who are accustomed to cooperating with government agencies to complete your case.