Many workers face regular conflict with their employer, which is a normal part of business to one degree or another. However, some workers face unfair pay for their work, and may have grounds to take legal action to recover lost wages. In instances like these, workers have a few options.
In general, an employee may either choose to sue the employer individually or report the violation to regulatory agencies that oversee fair work practices and push the agency to investigate the matter and pursue a suit against the employer. Some workers choose to use the regulatory agency’s power to enforce fair pay, but this often takes a much longer time to process than a civil suit might. Also, an entity such as the Secretary of Labor may only step in if the dispute involves a particular kind of violation, such as unpaid overtime, and once such a party files suit against an employer or oversees back payment of wages, the worker may not also file a private lawsuit.
In a civil suit against an employer, a worker may pursue the unpaid wages as well as the same amount over again in liquidated damages. Furthermore, the suit may seek compensation for the legal fees and court costs of the suit. It is also important to remember that filing claims for pay violations only have a two-year statute of limitations for payroll errors or three years for intentional violations.
Building a lost wages claim may take time, so if you discover that your employer owes you back pay, it is wise to begin building your claim as soon as possible. Be mindful to understand all of your rights and available protections as you build your claim and pursue a just resolution to your back pay conflict.
Source: FindLaw, “How to Report Unpaid Wages and Recover Back Pay,” accessed Feb. 16, 2018