Can You Sue Your Employer if They Refuse to Pay You?
The Wage Payment and Collection Law ("WPCL") defines "wages" as all earnings which are due to an employee. The Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") establishes the minimum wage and overtime rate for nonexempt employees. If you aren't compensated properly by your employer, or at all, then yes, you can sue your employer for any compensation they owe to you. Both of these laws are explained further and how they might relate to you.
All people who are employed within Pennsylvania by an employer are protected under this law. The WPCL requires employers to pay all wages that are due to an employee on regularly scheduled paydays, which are scheduled in advance by your employer. Your employer must notify you at the time of your hiring when you will be paid and how much you will be paid. Fringe benefits or supplements to your wages are included in the definition of wages owed to you under this law.
What do you do if your employer fails to properly compensate you for the agreed upon hourly rate or fails to pay you at all? You can use this law as a vehicle to enforce your employer to pay you as agreed upon in a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages, costs associated with the lawsuit, and attorney's fees that are deemed reasonable.
Additionally, to any unpaid wages, the WPCL permits an additional 25% or $500, whichever is greater, as liquidated damages to be paid to an employee after 30 days have passed from the regularly scheduled payday. For example, if 25% of your unpaid
wages comes to $400, you would be awarded the $500 in liquidated damages in addition to your pay. If 25% of your unpaid wages is $700, you would be awarded the $700 in addition to your unpaid wages. The amount owed is different on a case by case basis.
There is also a law for wages known as the FLSA. The Act establishes the base minimum wage as $7.25 for employees who are nonexempt. The FLSA also provides that
nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 and has to be at least one and a half times your regular rate of pay. Overtime pay is only required when you work more than 40 hours, not if you work on weekends or holidays. The FLSA does not limit how many hours you can or cannot work in a week,
If you are being paid less than the minimum wage established, are not receiving proper compensation for overtime hours, or not being paid at all, it is possible to bring a suit against your employer to collect on any of the compensation talked about in this article. For a consultation on your wage matters, call our office ta 412-626-5626 to speak with our intake team so we can assess the best way to help you. Manes & Narahari has a wonderful array of employment lawyers, paralegals, and law clerks who are on your side.