How to File a Wage Claim

If you have experienced wage theft, file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner's Office by email, mail or in person.

Workers in California have the right to file a wage claim when their employers do not pay them the wages or benefits they are owed. A wage claim starts the process to collect on those unpaid wages or benefits. California’s labor laws protect all workers, regardless of immigration status.

After the hearing

What happens next?

The hearing officer will make a decision 15 days after the hearing. That decision, known as an Order, Decision or Award (ODA), is filed with the Labor Commissioner’s Office and then mailed to both you and your employer.

Either side may appeal the hearing officer’s decision. The appeal must be filed within 15 days from the date on the certification of service by mail (or 20 days if the ODA was served to an address out of state). If neither side appeals within that time, the decision will become final and enforceable as a court judgment.

If the decision is appealed, the case moves to the local county Superior Court and is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

  • If you appeal, you may represent yourself or hire an attorney.
  • If your employer appeals, you will receive a notice of the appeal and two forms. If you qualify as a low-income worker, you may use these forms to request free representation from one of the Labor Commissioner’s attorneys. The forms are named “Request for Attorney Representation” and “Claimant’s Financial Status”.

If the hearing officer rules in your favor and the employer does not appeal the case, the Labor Commissioner will mail the ODA to the local Superior Court and it becomes a legal judgment. This judgment enables you to collect the award amount from your employer.


How to collect your award from the Labor Commissioner’s Office

Information on how to collect your award is available in multiple languages.

English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese

For updates on your wage claim, please email the district office where you filed your claim and include your claim number in the subject line. For general questions, please email

Resources for filing a wage claim

July 2018