How to Claim for Unpaid Wages

Hardly anyone would enjoy working without receiving due wages. The situation is even more frustrating when you expect to get paid once you have worked only to realize that no paycheck is forthcoming. What should you do? The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor enforces laws that ensure workers get paid for the work they do. The division makes sure that the Fair Labor Standards Act is implemented.

Since the act ensures that all people are treated fairly in the labor market, you must also provide necessary information. This starts before you encounter any difficulty by accurately recording all hours worked. When you receive your paycheck but realize that you have been shorted, get in touch with your employer first of all to determine whether it is just a processing error either from the employer or your bank. If the step does not solve the problem, then file a complaint.

The complaint should include:

• Name
• Address
• Phone number
• Name of employer
• Employer's location
• Name of owner or supervisor
• Work done
• When and how you were paid

You may also be required to submit other things like the number of hours worked and pay-stubs. You must sign the form to affirm that all the details that you have provided are accurate and true.

Your names and reasons for filing the claim will not be divulged without your permission. Once you have filed a complaint, the WHD will carry out an investigation. However, no investigation will be conducted if the employer had filed for bankruptcy, in which case you should contact the bankruptcy court. The law bars the employer from firing you for filing a complaint.

The WHD will confirm receipt of your complaint through a letter, which will tell you about the next measures in the claim process. The division will also get in touch with the employer to let them know about the wage claim filed against them. The employer will receive a copy of your claim and another form for giving a response.

The division will take a number of steps when investigating your claim, including:

• Arranging a meeting with the employer to find details about your pay

• Determining the relevant laws that are applicable to the company by reviewing its financial records

• Reviewing the payroll records of the business

• Meeting confidentially with your fellow employees to verify such details as payroll records, duties and time. The meetings do not necessarily have to be physical or at the workplace; the employees may be contacted by email, phone or at home.

• At the end of the investigation, WHD will inform the employer whether they had violated any law. They will also be asked to pay you any money owed.

The Fair Labor Standards Acts helps workers to recover their unpaid wages by ensuring that:

• The Wage and Hour Division takes necessary measures for workers to get paid their wages within a reasonable time-frame

• A lawsuit can be filed against their employers for back wages

• The workers may file private lawsuits against their employers for the wages owed and other associated charges like attorney's fees

• The Secretary of Labor is empowered to prevent anyone from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act

The law protects you against any retaliation that your employer may contemplate against you for filing a claim suit. On the other hand, you cannot file a private suit against the company if you have been paid or you owe the employer. In addition, you are eligible to file a complaint within two years except in special cases such as when the employer knowingly withheld your payment and three years have passed.

Employers who willingly withhold wages may be fined up to $1,000 or face other civil consequences while repeat offenders may be jailed. Some employers may even face criminal prosecution and be fined up to $10,000.

Failing to be paid is unfair and you should take appropriate measures to receive your wages. A lawyer can help you get your money.

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