Do I have a lawsuit for unpaid wages and closing my place of employment with no notice?

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Do I have a lawsuit for unpaid wages and closing my place of employment with no notice?

I have been working for a salon for almost 6 years.At the end of last week he closed the business without giving us any warning. Upon going through my finances, I realized that he had not been paying me what he was supposed to. According to my math, he owes me close to $12,000 over the last 2 years.

Asked on November 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can try to sue for not being paid wages you earned--there is, however, no lawsuit for a business closing without notice. You can only sue when someone violates a duty or obligation, but there is no duty or obligation to give employees advance notice of closing. There being no notice requirement, you cannot sue for not receiving notice.
Getting back to suing for unpaid wages: the issue there is, who do you sue? While your employer has a legal obligation to pay you for all work you did, at the agreed upon wages, it's only the employer which has that obligation. Therefore, you can only sue your actual employer. If you worked for an LLC or corporation, the LLC or corporation, which is it's own legal "person," it was your employer: you could therefore only sue the LLC or corporation, not the manager, not the owner, etc.--only the LLC or corporation. And if the LLC or corporation is out of business, there may be no one to sue--you can't sue a dissolved company, and even if it's not dissolved, if it is out of business and has no money, there is no money for you to get.
However, if you did not work for an LLC or corporation, but rather your employer was a person (e.g. a sole proprietor), you could sue that person for your wages.


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