In California, an employee who is discharged must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation, immediately at the time of termination. Labor Code §§201 and 227.3.
An employee without a written employment contract for a definite period of time, who gives at least 72 hours prior notice of his or her intention to quit and quits on the day given in the notice must be paid all of his or her wages, including accrued vacation at the time of quitting. Labor Code §202.
An employer who willfully fails to pay any wages due a terminated employee, who is either discharged or quits, within the time allotted may be facing a penalty. The penalty is equal to the employee’s daily rate of pay for each day the wages remain unpaid, up to a maximum of 30 calendar days. Mamika v. Barca (1998) 68 Cal.App4th 487.
Even if there has been a dispute regarding the amount the employer owes the employee, the employer must pay whatever wages are due that are not in dispute.