Close Menu
Litigation, P.C. Law Firm
Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Can My California Employer Deny A Final Paycheck?


In California, employers can fire employees for no reason, while employees do not need to provide a reason to quit. That is because California is an at-will employment state.

Under California wage laws, however, all workers are entitled to a final paycheck upon termination. Whether you are fired or quit voluntarily, if your employer denies your final paycheck you should not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles wage and hour disputes attorney to discuss your options.

What is California Law Regarding Final Paychecks Upon Termination?

California law requires employers to pay a worker’s final wages upon termination. The Golden State has one of the strictest wage laws aimed at protecting employees’ rights.

In California, employers are legally required to pay workers the wages to which they are entitled, including final paychecks upon termination.

Under California Labor Code § 201, employers must give an employee a paycheck immediately upon termination of employment. The paycheck must cover all wages earned by the employee, including:

  • Unpaid wages
  • Time off
  • Holiday and annual leave pay
  • Unused vacation time

Note: An employee must submit a written request for a final paycheck at least five workdays prior to their final day of employment to get all wages earned.

Can an Employer Deny a Final Paycheck?

Under California law, an employer must provide a final paycheck to a terminated employee upon giving notice of termination of employment. Employers cannot delay the payment of all unpaid wages upon termination.

It is illegal for employers to deny a final paycheck upon a worker’s termination. A terminated employee who does not receive a final paycheck on their last day of employment may be able to file a claim to obtain penalties from the employer for every day the employer missed to provide a final paycheck.

However, if you quit your job voluntarily and give the employer less than 72 hours’ notice, your employer has additional 72 hours to provide a final paycheck. When an employer is given at least 72 hours’ notice, they must provide an outgoing employee a final paycheck on their last date of work.

What to Do if a California Employer Denies a Final Paycheck

If your employer does not give you a final paycheck within the applicable amount of time, you may be able to pursue a wage-and-hour lawsuit against your employer.

Employers cannot legally deny a worker’s final paycheck upon the termination of employment. If your employer denies your final paycheck and refuses to pay the unpaid wages and other benefits, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Gather all available evidence, including pay stubs and evidence of earned wages;
  2. Keep a copy of the notice you gave your employer; and
  3. Contact a skilled wage and hour attorney to help you resolve your dispute amicably or file a lawsuit against your employer for denying your final paycheck

The more evidence you can gather, the more likely you are to get a final paycheck. At Litigation, P.C., our attorney is committed to helping you get all of your earned wages and fight for your rights in and out of court. Call 424-284-2401 to schedule a case review.


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn