How can I claim my unpaid salary without paying an attorney?

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How can I claim my unpaid salary without paying an attorney?

The company I worked for owes me at least 15 paychecks. It has not been doing good business for a while now, and the CEO kept promising me that funding is coming soon from so and so sources, asking me to stay on. Of course, the money never arrived and now she has laid off most of the employees, telling us that we can come back when she has funding. And just like that I am without a job and money. The VA dept of labor does not take cases with amount of more than 15K and says to hire any attorney. How can I claim back my hard earned salary that’s more than 25k without paying an attorney?

Asked on April 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

Darren Delafield

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The default rule in Virginia is that each party to a civil suit pays his or her own attorney. This default rule does not apply to all civil cases and it can be altered by the employment contract. If you have a written employment contract, employee handbook, etc., you should have it reviewed by an attorney. You are not required to hire an attorney. Virginia allows an individual to file a suit in the Circuit Court for breach of contract without a lawyer. This is know as a pro-se law suit. If you believe a crime has been committed, you should speak with the magistrate for the city or county where you live. Obtaining services by fraud can be a criminal activity. The Commonwealth Attorney will prosecute the criminal case. Do NOT extort the unpaid wages by threatening criminal prosecution. Either go see the magistrate, or don't; but don't make threats.


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