How do I Collect Unpaid Wages my Employer won't give Me?

By: Emma M., Assistancefinder
Published Mar 13, 2020 8:18:09 AM


Most people don’t get jobs so they can work free of charge. People who want to work without a paycheck do it because they want to volunteer their time, and it’s exceptionally difficult to pay the bills without income. If you go to work to collect a paycheck, you expect a paycheck on your payday. Sadly, there are many times when a person works all week expecting their paycheck to arrive at the end of the week only to realize they’re not getting paid. The money doesn’t come. The check bounces. Something happens, and someone doesn’t get paid. It’s an unfortunate circumstance, and it’s not something you want to face at any point in your life. However, if you find that your money doesn’t come, you can find a way to get it back.

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Finding Unpaid Wages

If you are not paid for the job you did, you can collect unpaid wages. You must reach out to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to file a claim relying on the Fair Labor Standards Act to make it possible. This act makes it possible for employees to collect the money their boss owes to them when they don’t get paid, but it’s certainly not a situation anyone wants to find themselves facing.
The first step is to go to your employer to find out if there was a mistake. Perhaps you were not paid enough or you were not paid at all. If your check bounces, it’s embarrassing for everyone. However, you must bring it up with your employer before you take your complaints elsewhere. It’s only wise to file a complaint if you’ve already attempted to rectify the situation with your employer.

File a complaint to start the process. Do not wait to file a complaint as there is nothing worse than realizing you don’t have the money to pay your bills. You need this money, and your job is to file a complaint immediately so you don’t waste any time getting paid. Your complaint is confidential if that helps you feel more comfortable making one.

What You Need to File A Complaint

If you plan on filing a complaint because your bank, the office, or the HR department will not handle this situation to your satisfaction, you do need to have information on hand.

• Your name
• Your address
• Your contact number
• Your employers name
• The location and address of your employer
• The name of your direct supervisor
• The name of the owner of the company
• Your job title
• How you are paid, what way you are paid, when you are paid, what you should be paid, and all other pertinent financial information

There are some cases when the department asks you for additional information, which is why you want to be available when and if they call. Once your claim is filed, you receive a letter letting you know it’s been received. The department then contacts your employer with the information, and then they will meet with your employer to find out what they have to say.

The department collects a myriad of information from your employer including the contract their employees sign, their pay information, and much more. If the investigation proves that you are owed money for work you did, the employer is required to pay you for the job you did.

You cannot be fired or punished for filing a claim, either. Your boss might not like it, but they cannot retaliate against you in any way without violating federal law. If your boss fires you or punishes you in any way following a claim, you have a potential lawsuit on your hands. Do not allow the company to intimidate you into forgoing making any claims because you don’t want to lose your job. You aren’t going to find it’s possible to work for someone who doesn’t pay you to begin with, and you need your income to survive. A claim is confidential, but your information will be discovered at some point. You must be prepared for this, and you must know your rights at work.


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