How to file a wage claim


What is a wage claim?


An employee or former employee may file an INDIVIDUAL wage claim ( English   Spanish   Chinese   Korean   Vietnamese   Tagalog) to recover:

  • Unpaid wages, including commissions and bonuses.
  • Wages paid by check issued with insufficient funds.
  • Final paycheck not received.
  • Unused vacation hours that were not paid upon termination of the employment relationship, e.g., a quit, discharge, or layoff.
  • Unauthorized deductions from paychecks.
  • Unpaid/non-reimbursed business expenses.
  • Failure to provide a meal and/or rest period in accordance with the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission Order.

What is the time period for filing a wage claim?


  • A claim based on an oral agreement must be filed within two years from the date the claim arose.
  • A claim based on a written agreement must be filed within four years from the date the claim arose.
  • A claim for minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and other statutory claims must be filed within three years from the date the claim arose.

What are the policies and procedures for processing a wage claim?


Click here to download a pamphlet that describes the policies and procedures for processing a wage claim.


How do I file a wage claim?


  • Download, complete, and print the Initial Report or Claim, DLSE Form 1 ( English   Spanish   Chinese   Korean   Vietnamese   Tagalog).
    Please be sure to provide all information on the claim form to avoid delay in the claim process.
  • Please be sure to sign and date your claim form.
  • Copies of any documents you have to support your claim should be attached to your claim form.  Please DO NOT send originals as they may be lost, damaged, or misplaced.

Where do I file my wage claim?


File your claim either by mail or in person with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) office that handles wage claims for the city/location/community where you performed the work.  To locate such office, click here for an alphabetical listing of cities/locations/communities.

The claim form CANNOT be filed electronically or by fax.  If your internet browser supports email of pages, DO NOT use this feature to submit your claim form as an original signature is required.  You MUST print and either mail or hand-deliver a copy of your claim form to the DLSE office that handles wage claims for the city/location/community where you performed the work.

If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, you should download the free Acrobat Reader from Adobe's web site at www.adobe.com, download instructions are available on the Adobe web site.  Once you have downloaded the Acrobat Reader you can view PDF documents in your web browser if it supports plug-ins, or if it does not support plug-ins, you can save the file(s) to your hard drive and view them by opening them in Acrobat Reader.