What are the ramifications of filing a wage claim against your employer in Oregon?

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What are the ramifications of filing a wage claim against your employer in Oregon?

My employer, who is sort of a friend/acquaintance, has not paid my salary for a month and will likely be another paycheck in one week. He also owes me money on a personal loan which is another story but overdue in terms of the number of times and dates he has promised to pay at least some back.

He is in major financial trouble right now. I know that much but am not sure of the true extent and details.

1 The personal loan is not a labor deal, but is there any link between them when it comes to filing for unpaid wages?
2 My employer has many people coming after him for money right now. What are the ramifications for me in the following scenarios
a. He files for bankruptcy
b. The other parties taking legal action against him file before me, get paid and no money is left over to pay my unpaid wages i.e. he has no money to pay me

Asked on October 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Wage claims are affected by bankruptcy, so if you file the claims and he files bankruptcy, your claim will be "stayed" (put on hold) during the bankruptcy process. Then, depending on what kind of bankruptcy was filed, how much income and assets he has, and how many other claims were against him, you could get anything from nothing, to a few cents on the dollar, to a significant portion of your claim, to everything, if his bankruptcy filing ends up being rejected (e.g. he does not meet the criteria). We can't say what the end result will be since it depends on so many different specific facts, only that bankruptcy will affect your claim and will likely (most cases) result in getting less, possibly much less, than you filed for.
And if all the employer's money and assets are used up, such as by other claims against him, before they get to your claim (to oversimplify: claims are addressed in the order in which they are filed), you won't get anything: a claim does not make money appear where is none, and as the old saying goes, you can't get blood from a stone.
File your wage claim NOW and also sue him (e.g. in small claims court0 for the loan. The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood that other claims will be filed first and all his money used up.


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