I Wasn’t Paid My Wages – What Do I Do?

en español>

California’s Department of Industrial Relations has a Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). The DLSE has a unit for Wage Claim AdjudicationOpens new window This unit decides claims that people have about their wages. 

  • For help, look at the California Department of Industrial Relations web site Opens new window
    or call them at: 1-415-557-7878. 
  • To see a list of their local offices in California, click here. Opens new window

Wage Claim Adjudication Unit

Workers can file claims with this unit if they are not paid their wages at a regular time, or if they are not paid for overtime, or for vacation pay as described under California Labor Code, Sections 96 and 98. Opens new window

To file a complaint with the unit for Wage Claim Adjudication:
Go to their website and click on File a Wage ClaimOpens new window  Follow the instructions they provide.

What happens after you file your complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement?

  1. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) deputies will hold an informal conference between you and your employer to resolve your wage dispute.
  2. If you cannot solve the problem at the informal conference, the DLSE will hold an administrative hearing to decide the matter.

If the Wage Claim Adjudication unit cannot help you, you can sue your employer in small claims court for the work done but not paid for. 
To learn how to do this, click here.


If you decide to file a complaint with the Wage Claim Adjudication unit before you file a lawsuit in small claims court, make sure that your time to file a claim in court (‘statute of limitations’) doesn’t run out.
  • Usually, you have 2 years to file your case in court from the date you were to be paid.
  • In some instances, you may have up to 4 years to file in court if you have an employment contract in writing.

If your problem isn’t resolved by the DLSE about 6 months before the time to file in court runs out, seriously think about filing in court at that time.





Did this information help you?  Tell us what you think.