In addition to, and entirely independent and apart from, any other penalty provided in this article, every person who unlawfully withholds wages due any employee in violation of Section 212, 216, 221, 222, or 223 shall be subject to a civil penalty as follows:
(a) For any initial violation, one hundred dollars ($100) for each failure to pay each employee.
(b) For each subsequent violation, or any willful or intentional violation, two hundred dollars ($200) for each failure to pay each employee, plus 25 percent of the amount unlawfully withheld.
The penalty shall be recovered by the Labor Commissioner as part of a hearing held to recover unpaid wages and penalties or in an independent civil action. The action shall be brought in the name of the people of the State of California and the Labor Commissioner and attorneys thereof may proceed and act for and on behalf of the people in bringing the action. Twelve and one-half percent of the penalty recovered shall be paid into a fund within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency dedicated to educating employers about state labor laws, and the remainder shall be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the General Fund.
(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 329, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2004.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018