If since I quit I’ve only received half of my last check, what can I do legally?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If since I quit I’ve only received half of my last check, what can I do legally?

I received what I thought was my last check but it was just the pay for partial pay for work done a whole month previous. Now I’m confused as to where the rest of my pay is. I refuse to wait to be paid another month later. What are my options legally?

Asked on December 30, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you cannot get your employer to pay you now, then you can either sue them in small claims court for any amounts that you are owed or you can file a wage claim with CA Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Under state law, a worker who is fired/laid off is entitled to their final paycheck immediately. If an employee quits without giving advance notice, the employer must provide their final paycheck within 72 hours; if an employee quits and gives at least 72 hours' notice, the employee is entited to the final paycheck immediately, meaning on their last day. Further, waiting time penalties are imposed on employers who fail to pay final wages when due. The penalty is the worker's average daily wage for each day the employer is late, up to a maximum of 30 days.

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