How to Sue Your Employer for Not Paying
Unfortunately, employers sometimes violate the law by not paying their employees all compensation they are owed. If an employer does not pay you fairly, you can take legal action, including filing a lawsuit. If you plan to file, you should make a list of all nonpayment(s) your employer has committed, look into the federal and Pennsylvania laws that may apply to your case, and contact an employment attorney for a consultation.
Employers are Not Paying Employees in a Number of Ways
Employer nonpayment comes in many forms, including:
- Unpaid wages
- Unpaid overtime
- Withholding of final paycheck
- Minimum wage violations
- Stolen tips
- Illegal pay deductions
- Nonpayment of fringe benefits or wage supplements
- Misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor*
*Employers sometimes misclassify employees as independent contractors because they have fewer protections under the law. In addition, an employer may intentionally misclassify an employee in order to avoid paying taxes, worker’s compensation, and unemployment insurance.
Laws That Apply when your Employer is Not Paying
If your employer is not paying you what you are owed, you likely have a case under one or more of the following laws:
- Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)
- Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (“MWA”)
The WPCL sets the standards for when wages are owed, how employees can collect unpaid wages, what civil and criminal penalties are available when an employer violates the law, and what damages employees are entitled to when their rights are violated. It is a Pennsylvania law.
The FLSA sets the standards for the national minimum wage and provides for a 40-hour workweek. It guarantees “time-and-a-half” pay for overtime. It is a federal law.
The MWA sets minimum wage and overtime rates for Pennsylvania employees. It also sets penalties for employers who violate the law. The MWA allows an employee to take civil action against an employe when his or her rights under the law are violated. It is a Pennsylvania law.
The laws you file under determine where you can file your lawsuit. If you bring a lawsuit under federal law, you must file in federal court. If you bring a lawsuit under state law, you must file in state court. If you bring a lawsuit under both federal and state law, you can file in either federal or state court, but not both.
For example, if you are suing your employer because of an overtime violation, you may have a case under both the FLSA (a federal law) and the WPCL (a state law). In this case, you can file in federal or state court. Your employment attorney can help you decide what to include in your lawsuit and where to file it.
Contact a KM&A Attorney if Your Employer is Not Paying
If your employer is not paying you what you rightfully deserve, don’t hesitate to talk to a KM&A attorney right away for a free and immediate consulation. We represent clients across Pennsylvania and believe that we have to be extremely accessible in order to aggressively pursue our clients’ interests. Call us in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at (610) 616-5686. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.