Wage and hour disputes are common in California, and employees may not always receive the compensation they deserve. Knowing when to file a wage and hour lawsuit can be crucial in recovering unpaid wages. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the situations in which you should consider filing a wage and hour lawsuit in California and how to get started.

  1. Unpaid Wages or Overtime

If your employer hasn’t paid you the correct wages or overtime, it may be time to file a lawsuit. California law requires employers to pay at least the minimum wage and overtime for hours worked over eight in a day or 40 in a week. If you believe you’re owed unpaid wages or overtime, consider taking legal action.

  1. Missed Meal and Rest Breaks

California law mandates that employees receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break for shifts over five hours and a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. If your employer has denied you these breaks, you might have a valid wage and hour claim.

  1. Misclassification of Employment Status

Employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors or exempt employees to avoid paying overtime or providing breaks. If you suspect you’ve been misclassified and denied proper wages, it’s time to consider filing a lawsuit.

  1. Illegal Deductions or Wage Garnishment

Employers cannot make unauthorized deductions from your paycheck or garnish your wages without a court order, except for legally required deductions like taxes. If your employer has taken illegal deductions or garnished your wages, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

When to Take Action

Before filing a lawsuit, try discussing your concerns with your employer or human resources department. Many wage and hour disputes can be resolved internally. If your employer doesn’t address your concerns or retaliates against you, consider filing a wage and hour lawsuit.

It’s essential to file your claim within the applicable time frame. In California, you generally have three years to file a lawsuit for unpaid wages or overtime and one year for missed meal and rest breaks. If you’re unsure about the statute of limitations, consult with an attorney.


If you’ve experienced wage and hour violations in California, it’s crucial to know when to take action. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover unpaid wages and hold your employer accountable. Speak with an experienced employment attorney for guidance on your specific situation and ensure you file within the appropriate time frame.

Sanjay Sabarwal focuses his practice in the areas of Employment Law, Family Law and Personal Injury Law and provides outstanding service and expertise for your legal right to win cases with personalized attention and insightful counsel. Mr. Sabarwal has been the Co-Owner and House Counsel for Ziba Beauty, member of the American Bar Association, Los Angeles Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association and Orange County Bar Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Youth Business Alliance, which connects entrepreneurs to speak at underserved schools in Los Angeles County. He is also a board member for the Artesia Chamber of Commerce. Contact Sanjay at or (562) 250-4471.

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