California law requires final wages to be paid within specific periods of time and in a specific manner. If the employee is fired, final wages must be paid at the time and place of termination. (See Labor Code § 201.) If the employee gives at least 72 hours notice of his or her intention to quit, final pay must be paid at the time of quitting. If the employee quits without giving 72 hours notice, final wages must be paid within 72 hours of quitting. An employee who quits with less than 72 hours notice may request that the final pay be mailed to a designated address and the date of mailing will be considered the date of payment. (See Labor Code § 202.) The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has posted helpful information about final pay in its FAQ’s. (See http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_Paydays.htm.)
An employer who wilfully fails to pay wages due within the required timeframe may be assessed continuing wages as a waiting time penalty for up to 30 days from the date the wages were due. (See Labor Code § 203.) The waiting time penalty is calculated by multiplying the daily wage rate by the number of days up to 30. (See Mamica v. Barca (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 487.) The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has published an informative guide on the waiting time penalty. (See http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_WaitingTimePenalty.htm.)
The statement in your question about the state taking sides with your employer, suggests that you may already have filed a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. If not, you may wish to file one. The Division of Labor Standards enforcement has published an informative guide on how to file a claim. (See http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm.)
If you have filed a claim and you believe you are being subjected to retaliatory harassment, you may wish to consider the possibility of filing a retaliation claim. California law prohibits discrimination or retaliation for making a claim. Once again, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has published helpful information on the subject. (See http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileDiscriminationComplaint.htm.)
You should consult with an attorney to discuss the particulars of your matter and for any specific legal advice.