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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

How to Sue Your Employer For Unpaid Wages

Unpaid Wages

Many Pennsylvanians live paycheck to paycheck. They rely on their next check for rent, food, and necessities. Not being paid the wages they earned could be devastating. Everyone, even those who are not living paycheck to paycheck,  deserves to be fairly compensated for the work they have done.

Thankfully, Pennsylvania’s employees can seek remedy through the Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”). If you are currently fighting for unpaid wages, you should look into this law as it will allow you to better understand your rights. You should contact an employment attorney, as well.

How to Sue Your Employer For Unpaid Wages

How to Sue Your Employer For Unpaid Wages

How to Sue Your Employer For Unpaid WagesHe or she can guide you through the process of seeking relief. Having an employment attorney is especially helpful if you plan to sue your employer. If you plan to sue your employer, you should learn what your rights and responsibilities are, collect any documents related to your case (e.g., pay stubs, employment contract), and determine which court you will file your lawsuit with.

KM&A offers free and immediate consultations with an unpaid wages attorney. It is our philosophy that aggressively pursuing our clients interests means that we have to extremely accessible. The consultations are always free so don’t hesitate to contact us 412-626-5626 or by email at

When Unpaid Wages Are Due

The WPCL outlines how employers must pay their employees and the legal remedies available to employees when their rights are violated.

According to the WPCL, 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

Regarding overtime, the WPCL states, “Overtime wages may be considered as wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period.” Employees who are terminated, or who quit or resign, are entitled to receive their final paycheck on the next regularly scheduled payday. In most cases, it is illegal for an employer to withhold your final paycheck.

Damages You Are Entitled To For Unpaid Wages

If an employer fails to pay your wages 30 days beyond a scheduled payday, OR 60 days beyond an “agreement, award, or other act making wages payable,” you are entitled to liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are calculated as 25% of your unpaid wages or $500, whichever is greater. Additionally, the court may allow reasonable costs for attorneys’ fees to be paid by the defendant.

Where to Sue Your Employer for Unpaid Wages

If you plan to sue your employer for unpaid wages, you should first contact an employment attorney. Not every unpaid wages claim is the same. Different rules apply when fringe benefits and railroad wages are involved, for example. In order to be best prepared, you should discuss your case with a legal professional who can advise and represent you. Since you will be filing a claim under a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania state law (WPCL), you will have to file your lawsuit in state court. Cases involving federal issues, however, may be dealt with through a federal agency and then go to federal court. Examples of federal issues include discrimination and retaliation. An employment attorney can make sure you file in the correct court.

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