According to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), every employer is required to pay their employees at least once a month. Depending on the contract, they may even have to pay you daily or project-based. The problem is that while most employers respect that, some may draw out your payday.
The bad news for them is that by not paying you on time, they violate the FLSA directly, which means they are likely to be held liable for damages. And if the employer does not pay you, there are some steps that you can go through.
1. Check for Technical Errors
While you may be tempted to sue first thing after realizing that you weren’t paid, you might want to rule out any technical errors first. It might not even be your employer’s fault that you did not get your wage. For instance, the payroll manager might have set up the account incorrectly or set up a wrong processing time for your wage by mistake.
In this case, you will want to contact your manager, as well as your payroll department, to look for any technical errors. They might not even know that you aren’t getting your money when you were supposed to.
However, now that you have informed them officially of the error, they are held accountable for making the payment. If you still do not get the money or they insist there is no technical error, then you can move on to the next step.
2. Get an Attorney
Once it has been settled that it was not an error, you need to get an attorney. Attorneys know all the laws and the terms related to your case. This way, they should be able to reach an understanding with your boss before you have to file an official complaint.
A lawyer will be able to obtain a settlement for you, and possibly put your boss on edge enough to get them to provide worker’s compensation. Lawyers are also recommended when the boss is always late to pay your wages or breaches a contract that deprives you of a high amount of money.
3. File a Claim with the Labor Agency
If your employer still refuses to pay you your wages or to look into potential technical errors, it is time to contact the Department of Labor agency of your state and file a claim. They should be able to help you find a way to collect your unpaid wages.
For instance, in Worcester, they recommend you hire a Worcester wage act attorney to help you through the process as it might involve a lot of legal paperwork compared to other cities. They will also be able to offer advice on how to handle your case in that particular area.
Depending on the state that you are in, you might also need to trigger an investigation of your boss. This can include potential tips on the employer, as well as any illegal kickbacks.
4. Include the Benefits
When you are filing a complaint against your boss, you might also have to include your benefits. This can include holiday pay, vacations, expense reimbursements, sick leaves, or any other expenses that your employer may have failed to pay you.
The Labor standard will look into these as well. If there were any wage supplements or unpaid benefits that your boss failed to supply, then an investigation will bring this to the surface.
Once the truth surfaces, your boss will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and will have to pay the wages that you were due.
5. File a Suit with the Small Claims Court
If you still seem nowhere close to receiving your wages and the Department of Labor proved to be a dead-end, then you might want to file a lawsuit. Depending on how cooperative your boss is, you will have to take matters to trial.
Gather all the information that you can and prove that your boss is always late with your paycheck or refuses to pay what you owe. If you receive your payment on a credit card, you can get a credit card statement to prove that no money reached your account.
Bear in mind that you will also need a court order to access your work files and payroll information, to prove that you indeed gave them your bank information.
The Bottom Line
When you offer your services to someone, it is obvious that you will have to get paid for them. And if your boss refuses to abide by the employment law, there are certain ways in which you can make them pay – literally.