SAN FRANCISCO — Employers can’t force workers to sign away the right to a Labor Commission hearing on an unpaid wage claim as a condition of employment, a split California Supreme Court concluded today in a contentious 4-3 decision.

Waiving that right is contrary to public policy, wrote Justice Carlos Moreno for the majority: “There is no question that the lawful payment of wages owed is not merely an individual right but an important public policy goal.”