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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

How to Sue Your Employer for Nonpayment of Wages

P - pittsburgh

Nonpayment of Wages is a Serious Legal Issue

Nonpayment of wages is a serious legal issue. Whether it is affecting your regular wages or your overtime pay, you should take action to be paid your hard-earned wages. Your employer can face legal consequences if he or she refuses to pay you your regular wages, your overtime pay, or your final paycheck. If necessary, you can file a lawsuit against your employer in order to receive your pay and any liquidated damages you may be entitled to. An employment attorney can help you through this process.

Nonpayment of Regular Wages

If you are an employee in Pennsylvania and are not being paid your regular wages, you can take legal action under the Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”).  According to this law, wages, other than fringe benefits and wage supplements, are due:

  1. within the number of days after the expiration of the pay period as provided in a written employment contract OR

  2. within the standard time lapse customary in the trade OR

  3. within 15 days of the end of the pay period

Nonpayment of Overtime

If you are a nonexempt employee, you are eligible for overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours in one workweek. New overtime laws, expected to take effect in 2016, will make even more Pennsylvanians eligible for overtime. According to the WPCL, “Overtime wages may be considered as wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period.” If you are not paid for overtime, you can bring legal action against your employer under the WPCL.

In addition to the WPCL, you can seek recourse through the Fair Labor Standards Act. This federal law introduced the 40-hour workweek and sets the standards for overtime pay. It requires employers to pay their employees at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked beyond 40.

Suppose you are a nonexempt employee who earns $10 per hour. If you work 45 hours in one workweek, you are entitled to $400 ($10 per hour for the first 40 hours) plus $75 ($15 per hour for the 5 overtime hours).

Nonpayment of Final Paycheck

If your employer is keeping your final paycheck from you, he or she is violating your rights under the WPCL, which states:

“Whenever an employer separates an employe[e] from the payroll, or when- ever an employe[e] quits or resigns his employment, the wages or compensation earned shall become due and payable not later than the next regular payday of his employer on which such wages would otherwise be due and payable. If requested by the employe[e], such payment shall be made by certified mail.”

Legal Remedies for Nonpayment of Wages

If your employer has not fairly compensated you for the work you have done, don’t hesitate to contact an employment attorney. He or she will take all steps necessary to make sure your nonpayment is remedied, from drafting a demand letter to organizing and filing a lawsuit under the FLSA and/or the WPCL.

You can discuss where to file and what to include in your nonpayment lawsuit with an employment attorney. Additionally, you and an attorney should look into what liquidated damages you are entitled to.  You may be entitled to liquidated damages in the amount of 25% of your unpaid wages or $500, whichever is greater.

Remember, KM&A offers free and immediate consultations with an attorney who can handle your nonpayment case. We represent clients in all counties in Pennsylvania. It is our philosophy that aggressively pursuing our clients’ interests means that we have to extremely accessible so don’t hesitate to call us in Pittsburgh at 412-626-5626 or in Philadelphia at 215-618-9185 or email us at

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