Unfortunately, not all employers pay their employees the correct amount. If you spot a discrepancy in your wages, your first option is to point out the error to your employer.
In some cases, however, the employer may have known what they are doing all along and refuse to pay you what they owe you. In this case, you may need to file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. To do so, you will need to gather documentation to support your claim. Here are some examples:
Records of hours worked
Maybe you always note your hours and days worked in your diary, on the calendar or in a spreadsheet. Perhaps your boss emails you to give you your shifts for the week, or to ask if you can work later than usual. Copies of those messages can be useful in your claim.
Paychecks and paystubs
These can help you highlight the difference between what your employer paid you and what they should have paid you. If you can provide your actual paystubs, it may be harder for your employer to hide what they’ve done.
An employment contract or other information
Even if you did not sign a contract outlining what you would earn, your employer should have given you some basic information. California’s 2012 Wage Theft Prevention Act (AB469) made it a legal requirement for employers to provide workers with a written notice outlining rates of pay and overtime along with any entitlement to allowances.
What if I don’t have all this documentation?
Perhaps you never wrote down when you went to work and just threw away your payslips once you saw that the money was in the bank. Or maybe you lost the folder containing all this information when you moved house. That doesn’t mean you cannot claim. California law obligates employers to keep records of employees’ hours and pay, so you may need to ask a court to give you access to those. Getting help to examine your legal options is best in all cases.