Can I Sue If My Boss Doesn’t Pay Me?


When an employer fails to pay you, you can almost always sue. An employee, on the other hand, cannot file a private lawsuit if:

  • They are paid back earnings while being monitored by WHD (Wage and Hour Division).
  • The Labor Secretary has already filed a lawsuit to reclaim the pay.
  • The statute of limitations (the time restriction for filing a case) has run out. In the instance of an intentional violation, however, a three-year statute of limitations applies.

An employer cannot terminate or discriminate against an employee just for filing a complaint. Retaliation is prohibited and is defined as firing, declining to promote, or otherwise taking action against an employee.

You have the right to file a claim against your employer in an employment tribunal if:

  • You haven’t been paid
  • Unauthorized deductions were taken from your salary
  • You were underpaid
  • You were not paid for overtime

Tribunal hearings may be difficult and time-consuming, so before you start down that road, be sure you’ve exhausted all other options.

How Much Money Can You Sue an Employer For If They Don’t Pay You?

If you were underpaid – or not paid at all – for your labor, then you have two options: sue in court or make a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or your state’s Labor Department.

How much compensation you receive from your employer depends on the severity of the case, the evidence, and how long the employer hasn’t paid you, and if this also includes unpaid overtime work. For example, attorney Steven Rubin recently settled a multiple employee pre-litigation action in L.A. for $900,000 without going to court.

What Is A Grievance?

If you haven’t been paid or haven’t been paid what you are owed, consult your employer’s grievance procedure and follow the steps outlined. All employers must provide a way for employees to file complaints. However, if there isn’t a formal mechanism in place, make a written record of your non- or underpayment. Sign and date your record, and explain why you have been underpaid. Keep a copy of this document/complaint, as well as the date you delivered it to your employer.

What is a Legal Letter?

Informing your employer that you intend to sue them might persuade them to take action. The fear of a lawsuit might sometimes be enough to persuade an employer to correct the issue since they do not want the negative publicity or trouble with an employment tribunal claim.

Having an attorney write a letter outlining that you should be paid fairly and that you intend to file legal action if the situation is not remedied could persuade the employer to pay up.

Is There a Time Restriction for Filing a Claim for Unpaid Wages?

It is critical not to wait too long for your employer to process your payments. Claims for unpaid wages or unlawful deductions from earnings must be brought within three months of the date you should have been paid. If a succession of payments is due, the most recent non-payment date is important. The three-month time frame does not include time spent at ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service).


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