Unpaid wages and bounced payroll check

I worked for four weeks for my previous employer. He hired 4 other employees at the same time as myself. To my knowledge, none of us have been paid with a 'good' check. We all, at this point, have paper checks that would bounce if we were to deposit them (I check his bank daily for funds available). After working there and answering phones, I realized he owes many companies and individuals money (some of which have complained of NSF checks).

I know you can't, "squeeze blood from a turnip" but we all have families and kids to feed and, now, daycare bills to pay. I have one paper check and he still owes me for 1.5 weeks of work plus some expenses.

Any compensation to a lawyer would have to come after payment from the employer as many of us are late on bills and such due to this situation.

1 answer  |  asked Apr 30, 2003 11:04 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Richard Renner
Tactics for getting paid

You have several options.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered employers have to pay at least the minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) in cash or its equivalent. A bounced check is not the equivalent of cash.
Courts have said that the due date to make this payment is the regular payday. When the employer is even a day late, the employee immediately has a right to sue not only for the wages due, but also for liquidated damages (which are equal to the minimum wages and overtime due).
You can sue not only the employer, but also any individual who acted directly or indirectly on behalf of the employer in relation to its employees. You can sue your supervisor, the payroll worker, and most likely, anyone officer of the company who knew that the checks would be dishonored.
If all these people are broke and have no assets, then the case is not worth pursuing.

You can also file a complaint with the US Department of Labor, Wage and Hour division.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WAGE & HOUR DIVISION (614) 469-5677, Cleveland (216) 522-3892
646 Federal Office Bldg., 200 N. High St., Col. 43215
They can collect the wages and overtime, but they don't enforce the liquidated damages.
If you make a written demand for payment, and wait thirty days, you may have a claim for an extra $200 under R.C. 4113.15.
The time limit to sue is two years (although the court can allow three years for willful violations). But why wait?
Shop around for an attorney. Visit:
www.nela.org
www.ohioemploymentlawyersassociation.org
If you can't get an attorney, you can file in small claims court. I would recommend that you at least consult an attorney to have an attorney review your complaint. Once you file it, the court may limit you to the claims you have made. An attorney can help make sure you are asking for all you are entitled to.
Best wishes.

posted by Richard Renner  |  Apr 30, 2003 12:16 PM [EST]

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