When To Take Legal Action When Your Employer Isn’t Paying You


Brenda Smith, Negosentro | The federal law requires businesses and employers to pay employees on regular paydays.

Exerting legal actions against an employer is a crucial step, so make sure that you understand the state’s legal requirements before taking any legal action.

The majority of states have minimum pay dates by which time employers must remunerate employees; these paydays normally happen week by week, fortnightly, semi monthly or monthly. In the event that your manager does not pay you by the ordered payday, the legal actions that you can do rely upon depend on your circumstances and work state.

When To Take Legal Action When Your Employer Isn’t Paying You

As an employee, you are legitimately entitled to acquire the payments that were agreed on by you. In addition, you are entitled to further benefits and penalties in the event that your employer refuses to recompense you. That violates both local and state law. If the employer fails to give you your pay, read the following legal actions you can do to help redeem your wages.


  • Determine Legal Requirements


Contact the state’s labor department and inquire the procedures on filing a late-wage payment claim. The laws concerning paychecks are broad and complex, thus your must acquire accurate information.


  • Be specific when talking about your situation: Contact the agency and tell them specifically about your situation. For instance, a state law may require specific payday for exempt and nonexempt workers, commissioned, and terminated workers.
  • Some state laws have exceptions on rules regarding regular paydays: For instance, if your payday occurred on a non-work day, your wage must have been given on the preceding business day.


  • Speak With Your Employer


Don’t do any legitimate action against your employer if you have not yet discussed the issue case privately with him/her.

  • Some issues can be resolved through communication: Remember that legal actions are time consuming, expensive, and may jeopardize your relationship and companionship with your employer, especially if the case originated from unintentional payroll setbacks. Any issue may be settled with good and effective communication.


  • Take legal action when employer is at fault: However, in the event that your employer is at-fault and the payroll issue is recurring, it is time to take legal action.


  • File a Claim


When you think it’s time to take legal action, contact your state’s department of labor first. Ask for the procedures involving filing claims for late-wage payments. Typically, this procedure is different from recovering back pay or arranging a wage claim due to getting unpaid.


  • The state’s department of law requires you to fill out a form: The first process in filing a claim involving late wages demands you to fill out a form which includes your employer’s personal information (name, contact information). Also, the form asks information regarding the total quantity of salary you are claiming, wages beyond due date and actual payments.
  • Time allotment in processing: Each state varies in the time allotment involving the process of your claim. Although generally, the state has a fixed period of time when you can file a claim and the limited quantity you may claim.


  • Final Paycheck


Likewise, the state allots the time frame when terminated workers must receive their last paycheck.

  • For terminated employees: Some states do not require employees to provide terminated employees their final paycheck immediately after dismissal. For instance, your state may have a different time frame depending on the process on how you were terminated, such as laid off or fired.


  • Allows your employer to make payroll adjustments: The time allotment provided to your employer allows him/her to make certain adjustments on your payroll. For instance, deduction of entrusted company property or you failed to show up for your duty.
  • Contact the state department of labor if your employer fails to pay your final wages: In the event that your employer fails to recompense your final payroll during the state’s authorized time, immediately contact the state’s labor department for policies on wage claims.


  • Employer Penalties


There are certain penalties that apply in the event that your employer never paid your wages, or paid you less than you are supposed to earn. However, the state may not have certain penalties for employers who pay wages late.  Consult your state’s department of labor to know specific penalties that apply in your situation.


  • Consult a Lawyer


Although the legal actions mentioned earlier may guide you in making a claim, they may not provide the personalized attention and advice you want or need. The wisest thing to do is consulting an employment lawyer to assist you in the process. Also, he/she can inform you which methods mentioned earlier fits your circumstance.

If the situation affects multiple employees, you may consider the possibility of claiming a class action lawsuit. In addition, a lawyer can advise you on any pertinent statute of limitations. This ensures that you are filing your complaints in a timely manner.


Since state laws may vary; if you can’t solve the matter effectively with your employer, then it is ideal to contact your state’s labor department for consultation.  Based upon your circumstance, the bureau can advise you on the best way to recover payments through other methods.  

Every employee wants to get compensated for the work performed or services rendered. In case of non-payment of wages and other benefits, explore more on the legal actions you may take by clicking here.

Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith is best known by her readers as someone who offers a modern take on common law topics. Brenda keeps herself fit and healthy by working out during her free time.