If my employer doesn’t pay me and I get evicted as a result can I sue?

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If my employer doesn’t pay me and I get evicted as a result can I sue?

My check is two weeks late, and
counting. Because of this I couldn’t pay
rent and was evicted. Do I have grounds
to sue my employer for some sort of pain
and suffering? I have proof I worked, I
have every thing we have said aside from
the interview screen shotted.

Asked on November 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You have no claim here; your employer is not responsible for you personal financial situation. Further, a pain and sufferinfg award can only be collected for a physical injury suffered, not for a monetary loss. That having been said, you can file suit in small claims court and/or file a wage complaint with your state's department of labor regarding any compensation owed to you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue over the eviction or for pain and suffering.
1) First, in the law's eyes, the lateness of the check does not cause the eviction. The employer is not responsible for your finances: it did not cause you to not have savings or a monetary reserve, or to live in a place where the rent was such that you lived paycheck-to-paycheck. It did not cause you to be unable to borrow money from friends or family for rent, or prevent you from paying rent by shorting other bills. The employer did not cause the eviction in a direct fashion; the fact that your actions and choices intervened and created the situation means they are not liable.
2) You cannot get pain and suffering in lawsuits about money not paid to you--only when there is physical injury or a pattern of harassment/stalking.
What you can do, of course, is sue for the money you have not been paid, such as in small claims court as your own attorney ("pro se").


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