employer out of business, fails to pay

Hi,

I worked for an employer from August 1999 to 2000 and was never officially released, but told I could go from salary to contract. The employer went out of business, and never paid me. I took this to the labor board and still continue to write letters to them to this date; they reply, stating that they're looking into it, and nothing more. I've requested information on what actions they're taking to get my wages (2 weeks pay plus $190/day for 30 days, according to what I've been told). I went to court, and the employer never showed up when I filed, and they took a statement from me, etc.

Is there a way I can get my employer to pay me what is due? I am willing to work out a percentage as payment for dues to me collected if you're interested in assisting me?

Thanks

1 answer  |  asked Sep 20, 2002 03:54 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Janet M. Koehn
out of business employer

some of the facts you state are unclear. what do you mean that you "went to court" and "THEY took a statement from me"? are you talking about a hearing at the labor board? did you sign a claim at the labor board? do you have a decision?
all these questions must be resolved to know what the status of your claim is.
however, the unfortunate fact is that if your employer went out of business, it'll be very hard to collect your wages. there are things you can do: for example, make sure the labor board issues the judgment against the owner of the business as well as the company, so you can reach personal assets of the owner. then make sure the labor board's award is reduced to a judgment. then you can take your judgment to the court and have it enforced with collection procedures (you can get help with those from your self-help program at your local court.)
you also can do the following things: notify the franchise tax board that the employer has failed to pay your payroll taxes (at least for the last two weeks of your employment), and probably other employees' as well. that will trigger their investigation and make life difficult for your employer.
you also can force your employer into bankruptcy, as a creditor.
however, getting an attorney to help you with all this would be far too expensive, in terms of time, to do for a percentage of your award, unless there are a number of employees who together have a sizeable claim, and the employer or owner has traceable assets. it might be worthwhile talking to an attorney who is experienced in creditor-debtor law. you can get a referral from your local bar association.
good luck!
janet m. koehn

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Sep 20, 2002 10:58 AM [EST]

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