If you sue for unfair business practices, under Cal. Business and Professions Code Section 17200, you may be able to claim 4 years worth of damages. Under the Labor Code, the statute of limitations is generally 3 years.
Contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible. Do not talk to your employer's lawyer or sign any releases without having your own attorney review them. Ordinarily there would be a three year statute of limitations for such violations, however, a four year statute of limitations is available under California Unfair Competition Law, Business and Professions Code Section 17200.
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You would not be entitled to monetary damages for Unfair Business Practice violations under California Business and Professions Code section 17200 (California's Unfair Competition Law). For a California Business and Professions Code section 17200 lawsuit, the plaintiff may obtain restitution as far back as four years. Restitution is not damages, but an equitable remedy.
The primary remedies in a California Business and Professions Code 17200 lawsuit for private enforcers are injunctive relief, restitution, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, not monetary damages or penalties. Plaintiffs may be entitled to attorney's fees for enforcing Section 17200, assuming they otherwise meet the standards as a private attorney general under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.