MENU

What is Wage Theft?

Wage theft occurs when employers do not pay workers according to the law. Examples of wage theft include paying less than minimum wage, not paying workers overtime, not allowing workers to take meal and rest breaks, requiring off the clock work, or taking workers' tips.

In California, all workers are protected by labor laws.
  • It does not matter where you were born or whether you have papers to work.
  • The Labor Commissioner's Office will not ask about your immigration status or report your immigration status to other government agencies.
  • You do not need a social security number or photo identification to file a claim or report a violation.

What Can You Do to Fight Wage Theft?

  1. Learn about your rights.
  2. If you are a victim of wage theft, take action:
    • File a wage claim against your employer. The Labor Commissioner's Office can order your employer to pay you the wages and penalties you are owed.
    • Report widespread cases of wage theft to our investigators. You can report labor law violations if you have observed wage theft at any workplace, even if you do not work there.
    • If wage theft is happening on a public works project, a publically funded construction project, file a public works complaint.
    • If you experience retaliation, such as termination, demotion or other punishment for exercising your labor rights, file a retaliation complaint.

Labor Commissioner's Office

The mission of the California Labor Commissioner's Office is to ensure a just day's pay in every workplace in California and to promote economic justice through robust enforcement of labor laws. By fighting wage theft, protecting workers from retaliation, and educating the public, we put earned wages into workers' pockets and help level the playing field for law-abiding employers.

The Labor Commissioner's Office inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, and investigates retaliation complaints. Wage theft is a crime–the Labor Commissioner's Office can partner with other law enforcement agencies to criminally prosecute employers that engage in wage theft.

Contact the Labor Commissioner's Office


The State of California attempts to maintain the highest accuracy of content on this website. Any errors or omissions should be reported for investigation. The State makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the absolute accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this website and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this website. No warranty of any kind, implied, expressed, or statutory, including but not limited to the warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and freedom from computer virus, is given with respect to the contents of this website or its hyperlinks to other internet resources. Reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the State of California, or its employees or agents. This Use Policy is subject to change without notice.