If I was put in debt because employer paid me 7 weeks late, how do I make them responsible for those fees?

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If I was put in debt because employer paid me 7 weeks late, how do I make them responsible for those fees?

My employer refused to pay for my verified FMLA leave of 3 weeks on the day I returned with no warning. They then fought with me for over 2 weeks before finally I was able to force it through by going over the heads of everyone in my T-mobile center. By the time I received just that pay I was owed it was 7 weeks without money in my hands. There was 2 months where I did not have the money I expected to pay my bills and have been charged late fees on everything under my roof. My truly main concern is my rent which normally runs $675 now being at a deficit of $1800 and growing literally by the day. My employer refuses to take any responsibility for their screw up which was verified on their end, being the only reason I received the back pay 7 weeks later, or they wouldn’t have acquiesced to it at all. As it stands I am still being shorted a full weeks pay on top of all these fees.

Asked on December 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It's not a given you could recover compensation from your employer for this. They are only liable for a reasonably foreseeable loss, or one logically predictable or even inevitable, and where your own actions do not contribute to the loss; and, of course, only for a loss they caused.
So, for example, they are *not* responsible for your base rent: you owe that anyway, regardless of when or how much you are paid, and your employer has nothing to do with your obligation to pay base rent. 
You *possibly* can recover for late fees, interest, etc. you have occured because of the late payments (so if you had, say, 2 months of late fees for late payment of rent, you could possible recover those late fees). However, this is where it becomes somewhat subjective: a judge could conclude that even if the employer were late paying you, the reason you had late fees is that you live paycheck-to-paycheck and dont' have reserves or savings, which is not the employer's responsibility; a judge thinking that way might decline to award you compensation. Another judge, of course, might feel that the late fees due to late payment *are* directly the employer's fault and award you money...so there is a chance, but only a chance--it is not guaranteed--that you could recover late fees and interest due to the late payment, but you will not be able to recover any base rent or other charges which you'd have to pay anyway.
If they have short paid you and you could prove you did the work, you should be able to recover the pay you are owed.


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