What can I do about unpaid wages?
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What can I do about unpaid wages?
I have a PDF copy of a contract that specifies a work relationship with a company that billed itself as an escrow company. I cannot reach anyone by phone, email or website. The company was supposedly located in another state. I was working via telecommuting for 1 month before the company “dissapeared.” Would small claims court be the appropriate court to sue for breach of contract since the amount is under $5000? Am I entitled to sue for anything in addition to the sum total of wages not paid?
Asked on March 6, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia
FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 7 years ago | Contributor
A common remedy for wage violations is an order that the employer make up the difference between what the employee was paid and the amount he or she should have been paid. The amount of this sum is often referred to as "back pay." Among other Department of Labor programs, back wages may be ordered in cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on the various federal contract labor statutes.
Listed below are methods which the FLSA provides for recovering unpaid minimum and/or overtime wages.
(1) The Wage and Hour Division may supervise payment of back wages.
(2) The Secretary of Labor may bring suit for back wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages.
(3) An employee may file a private suit for back pay and an equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorney's fees and court costs.
(4) The Secretary of Labor may obtain an injunction to restrain any person from violating the FLSA, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay.
An employee may not bring suit under the FLSA if he or she has been paid back wages under the supervision of the Wage and Hour Division or if the Secretary of Labor has already filed suit to recover the wages.
Generally, a two-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back pay. In the case of willful violations, a three-year statute of limitations applies.
Back wages also are available for underpayments to employees under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Service Contract Act, among other laws enforced and administered by the Wage and Hour Division.
Answer: I suggest that you contact your local department of labor and/or laborattorney in your community and make a complaint against your former employer. An attorney can be found on attorneypages.com.
Small claims is an option as well as seeking statutory damages per code for non payment including penalties and accrued interest.
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