Written by attorney David Dene Murray

California Penatlies for Labor Code Violations

Section 203 - Penalty for failure to pay within 72 hours of termination

Penalty: 30 days wages.

  1. If an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or

reduction, in accordance with Sections 201, 201.5, 202, and 205.5,

any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of

the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof

at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced;

but the wages shall not continue for more than 30 days. An employee

who secretes or absents himself or herself to avoid payment to him

or her, or who refuses to receive the payment when fully tendered to

him or her, including any penalty then accrued under this section, is

not entitled to any benefit under this section for the time during

which he or she so avoids payment.

Suit may be filed for these penalties at any time before the

expiration of the statute of limitations on an action for the wages

from which the penalties arise.


Section 226: Penalty for not providing a pay stub

Penalty: Failure to provide an itemized pay stub. $50.00 for first

pay period violation and $100 thereafter.

  1. (a) Every employer shall, semimonthly or at the time of each

payment of wages, furnish each of his or her employees, either as a

detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the employee's

wages, or separately when wages are paid by personal check or cash,

an itemized statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2)

total hours worked by the employee, except for any employee whose

compensation is solely based on a salary and who is exempt from

payment of overtime under subdivision (a) of Section 515 or any

applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, (3) the number

of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the

employee is paid on a piece-rate basis, (4) all deductions, provided,

that all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be

aggregated and shown as one item, (5) net wages earned, (6) the

inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid, (7) the

name of the employee and his or her social security number, (8) the

name and address of the legal entity that is the employer, and (9)

all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the

corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the


The deductions made from payments of wages shall be recorded in

ink or other indelible form, properly dated, showing the month, day,

and year, and a copy of the statement or a record of the deductions

shall be kept on file by the employer for at least three years at the

place of employment or at a central location within the State of


An employer that is required by this code or any regulation

adopted pursuant to this code to keep the information required by

this section shall afford current and former employees the right to

inspect or copy the records pertaining to that current or former

employee, upon reasonable request to the employer. The employer may

take reasonable steps to assure the identity of a current or former

employee. If the employer provides copies of the records, the actual

cost of reproduction may be charged to the current or former


This section does not apply to any employer of any person employed

by the owner or occupant of a residential dwelling whose duties are

incidental to the ownership, maintenance, or use of the dwelling,

including the care and supervision of children, or whose duties are

personal and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or

occupation of the owner or occupant.

(b) Any employee suffering injury as a result of a knowing and

intentional failure by an employer to comply with subdivision (a)

shall be entitled to recover the greater of all actual damages or

fifty dollars ($50) for the initial pay period in which a violation

occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) per employee for each violation

in a subsequent pay period, not exceeding an aggregate penalty of

four thousand dollars ($4,000), and shall be entitled to an award of

costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

(c) This section does not apply to the state, or any city, county,

city and county, district, or any other governmental entity.


Section 1194 - Penalties for not paying minimum wage or overtime.

Penalty: Full amount of minimum wage or overtime compensation,

including interest, reasonable attorney?s fees and costs of suit.

  1. (a) Notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage,

any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal

overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to

recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of

this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest

thereon, reasonable attorney's fees, and costs of suit.

(b) The amendments made to this section by Chapter 825 of the

Statutes of 1991 shall apply only to civil actions commenced on or

after January 1, 1992.


Section 1194.2: Penalties for failure to pay minium wage.

Penalty: Liquidated damages in an amount equal to the

wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon

1194.2. (a) In any action under Section 1193.6 or Section 1194 to

recover wages because of the payment of a wage less than the minimum

wage fixed by an order of the commission, an employee shall be

entitled to recover liquidated damages in an amount equal to the

wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon. Nothing in this

subdivision shall be construed to authorize the recovery of

liquidated damages for failure to pay overtime compensation.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), if the employer demonstrates

to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise

to the action was in good faith and that the employer had reasonable

grounds for believing that the act or omission was not a violation

of any provision of the Labor Code relating to minimum wage, or an

order of the commission, the court may, in its discretion, refuse to

award liquidated damages or award any amount of liquidated damages

not exceeding the amount specified in subdivision (a).

(c) This section only shall apply to civil actions commenced on or

after January 1, 1992.

Additional resources provided by the author

See our web site at and call us for a free telephone consultation at (949) 833-8021. Law Offices of David D. Murray

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