Pursuant to the California Labor Code, unpaid wages can be collected back three years. There is also a loop into unfair competition under the Business and Professions Code, which can extend that to four years. Any wages due beyond four years ago are not collectable in a court action. In addition to this, there are penalties available when wages are unpaid. Commuting is a whole separate issue. It depends on how the commute was made, whether you started directly from your home or reported first at the contractor's place of business, and any possible agreement on commute. In general, commute between home and a place of employment is unpaid. However, if you report to you place of employment and then travel elsewhere, you are typically due compensation for the time as well as mileage reimbursement for the use of your vehicle. In these situations it is best to hire an experienced Employment litigator who focuses on Plaintiff side. If an attorney accepts your case, it will typically be on contingency or between 25-50% of the total recovery depending on when and if the case is resolved. It is also best to seek an attorney with an office that is located in your area for communication purposes.