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fighting wage theft & retaliation

Understanding wage theft

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About $2 billion are stolen from California workers each year due to minimum wage violations alone.

Have you experienced wage theft?  You can file a claim or get help at one of the places below:

The state labor commissioner handles claims about wage theft, minimum wage, overtime, rest and meal breaks, stolen tips, sick leave, illegal deductions, reporting time violations, late or bounced checks, misclassification, etc.

Labor Commissioner’s Office- San Diego Branch

Address: 7575 Metropolitan Dr., Room 210, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 220-5451
Hours: Monday – Friday
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
1:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Click here to file a claim

Labor Commissioner’s Office- El Centro Branch

Address: 1550 W. Main St., El Centro, CA 92243
Phone: (760) 353-0607
Hours: Monday and Wednesday only
9:00 AM -12:30 PM
1:30 PM -5:00 PM
**To set an appointment at a different date and time, please call office directly.

Click here to file a claim

The City of San Diego’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement handles claims about the City’s Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Days ordinance, Living Wage ordinance, and Prevailing Wage.

Minimum Wage & Earned Sick Days

Website: https://www.sandiego.gov/compliance/minimum-wage
Phone: 619-615-1565
Email: SDMinWage@sandiego.gov
Click here to file a minimum wage or sick days complaint 

Living Wage

Website: https://www.sandiego.gov/compliance/living-wage
Address: 202 C Street, MS 8A, San Diego, CA 92101.
Phone: 619-236-6084
Email: ContactLWO@sandiego.gov
Click here to file a living wage complaint 

Prevailing Wage

Website: https://www.sandiego.gov/compliance/prevailing-wage
Email: PWDPrevailingWage@sandiego.gov

The County of San Diego Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement (OLSE) has authority to accept complaints about a limited number of County ordinances, such as the Working Families Ordinance. The County OLSE administers the Workplace Justice Fund and can help navigate and refer claims to the appropriate offices.

Website: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/OLSE.html
Address: 1600 Pacific Highway, Suite 452, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-531-5129
Email: OLSE@sdcounty.ca.gov

Click here to ask a question or to file a complaint

The Employee Rights Center (ERC) can help workers file a wage theft complaint with the appropriate office, file for unemployment, and may be able to provide legal support. ERC also offers support and resources for immigrants.

Website: https://weberc.net/
Address: 4161 Home Ave suite 201, San Diego, CA 92105
Phone: 619-521-1372

What is Wage Theft?

Wage theft occurs any time a worker is paid less than they earned.

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Wage theft is a major problem that affects all workers, especially workers the system undervalues, like recent immigrants and workers in industries that pay the lowest wages. Workers shouldn’t go into debt, or risk losing their jobs, homes, and/or food and care for their families because they stand up for their rights on the job.

A worker justice fund would provide financial assistance to workers experiencing wage theft or other violations of their rights. A worker justice fund can ensure workers who file claims are paid the money they are legally owed and allow workers to cover housing and other necessities, preventing them from going into further financial hardship. Covering workers’ loss of wages and providing financial assistance will promote workers’ rights, health, and safety and empower more workers to report violations.

Only 9% of workers in California who won court wage theft judgments received the full amount of money owed to them.

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On June 13th the County Board of Supervisors approved the Workplace Justice Fund! 

$100,000 was allocated for the fund, right now the fund works in two ways:

Workers can get up to $4,000 if their employer retaliates against them after filing a wage theft complaint with the County’s Office of Labor Standards. 
Many employers just don’t pay even if a worker wins their case. Any worker who has filed and won a wage theft judgment can get up to $3000 from the fund. Then the County will work to recover all money owed to the employee. 

State Bills we're supporting

SB 497: equal pay and anti-retaliation act was signed into law!

Every day in California hundreds of thousands of workers experience wage theft, harassment, and abuse. Every worker is entitled to safety and dignity on the job. Today, bosses get away with retaliation because they have the power to bully and silence workers for demanding fairness and respect. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Equal Pay and Anti-Retaliation Act (SB497) can change the gross imbalance of power and reduce workplace abuse. SB 497 would create an assumption that a negative action against an employee is retaliation when it occurs within 90 days of a worker reporting a labor or equal pay violation. The bill would also allow whistleblowers to collect up to a $10,000 penalty. Currently, only the state may collect from lawbreaking employers.


Effective workplace laws require well-informed workers. Last year, California committed $50 million over two years to expand a historic worker outreach program that builds community resilience through workers’ rights education. Now the Governor proposes eliminating the program’s second year in 2024.

Workers in California’s low-wage industries still face hazards and exploitation. We have succeeded in creating a highly effective new piece of our workplace fairness infrastructure and cannot afford to discard it.

Building resilient and equitable communities requires empowering workers in low-wage industries to assert their rights. 

California must:

Preserve the second $25 million of the total $50 million committed to CWOP last year
Recognize that the need for this critical education work is not confined to the pandemic, and as we move into recovery, we should continue educating workers about their rights broadly, renaming the program the “California Workplace Outreach Program”


In the News

Justice for Warehouse Workers/ Justicia Para Trabajadores de almacen

join the fight against wage theft/ Unéte a la lucha contra robo de salario