What can we do if my husband has not been paid by his employer in 2 months?

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What can we do if my husband has not been paid by his employer in 2 months?

My husband is a newspaper carrier for the Washington Post and works under a distributor who reports to the Washington Post. He has only received a partial check for the month before last and and has not been paid for last month at all. We have been calling the Washington Post and have neither gotten a response nor payment. Our bills are not being paid, we cannot buy food and cannot have our prescriptions refilled. I am paying huge bank fees for an overdrawn account. I am not working and only receive a limited income which does not cover our expenses. We depend on his check to make ends meet. What are our options?

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, if your husband works for the distributor--that is, if he actually works for the distributor and not for the Washington Post directly--then it's the distributor, not the post, against whom he has recourse.

He can sue for the money owed him, whether he was actually an employee of the distributor was an independent contract of them. In either event, he's entitled to be paid for the work he did. Of course, if the distributor has gone out of business or has no money, that may not help--he could win a lawsuit but still be unable to be paid, though if the distributor is not an LLC or corporation, he may be able to sue the owner(s) directly, too. He could probably sue in small claims court, to reduce his costs.

Second, if he's an employee--and not an independent contractor--he may be able to get the state labor department to take action on his behalf; though again, if there's no money left in the distributor, it may be difficult to be paid.


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