In California, an employer is required to pay all earned wages, including unpaid vacation time, to an employee at the time of termination. The employer must also provide a final paycheck to an employee who has been terminated, laid off, or has resigned, immediately if the employee quits without giving 72 hours’ notice, or within 72 hours if the employee gives 72 hours’ notice of quitting.
If an employer fails to provide a final paycheck to a terminated employee, the employee may file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) or file a lawsuit against the employer for the unpaid wages. Additionally, if an employer intentionally fails to pay the final paycheck, the employee may be entitled to additional penalties and interest.
However, if the employee has any outstanding debts or obligations to the employer, such as unpaid loans or damages to company property, the employer may be able to deduct the amount owed from the final paycheck, as long as the employee has agreed in writing to the deductions.