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Legal Considerations When Getting Unpaid Wages

Legal Considerations When Getting Unpaid Wages

by Crystal GoffMarch 26, 2018

According to The Guardian, recent estimates on unpaid wages and unpaid work state that in the United Kingdom, unpaid work actually accounts for as much as 739 billion pounds in the country’s economy. While there aren’t a lot of compiled statistics to elaborate on this, on a worldwide level, the mere fact that unpaid work earns a country’s economy billions in money means there’s a drastic amount of work unpaid with money that could’ve been used by workers for their benefit.

In the case of the United States, it’s the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor that enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, and they are in charge of ensuring that wage violations are avoided and remedied by compensating the employee appropriately. In legal terms, this difference is called “back pay,” and can be filed in FLSA cases. If you’re stuck in a similar situation where you’re having difficulty getting wages for work you weren’t paid for, here are legal considerations:

  • Remember to calculate all wages that are unpaid, including your minimum wage and overtime wage. Be mindful of how much you’re owed, as pursuing your employer for back pay may either be worth it or not depending on the moves you’ll make. For instance, if the back wage you want to regain is below $5,000, then do remember that you may be paying your lawyer more in attorney’s fees and other court fees than the back wage you can gain. If it’s more than $5,000, then this may justify paying your attorney higher fees.
  • Remember the particulars of circumstances that led to where you are now. For instance, if you’re a former employee that has been fired because of things such as discrimination or even in retaliation, or after you’ve filed a complaint, then you can actually more forward to file a complaint and get your wages back. In fact, you may even be liable for different kinds of relieve, including a new form of employment, reinstatement to your former company, and even promotion.
  • Remember to always keep copies of documentation of everything related to work. For instance, noted and copies of records and reports that help enlighten the pay practices of your employer are greatly appreciated. These include hours worked, personal records, and pay stubs. These can serve as vital evidence that could aid you in your needs when you present these to your lawyer for assistance.
  • Remember that you can file a complaint. Agencies like the WHD can conduct investigation especially when you raise a complaint against a company or an employer in relation to the FLSA. All these reports remain confidential, which means all details including details of your complaint and your name can’t be found out. The only bypass to this is, with your permission, your identity will be revealed in order for an allegation to be pursued.

  • Remember that you can recover your back wages through a variety of means. In fact, the FLSA actually has provisions that can help you recover both minimum and overtime wages that were unpaid. These can either work if the WHD itself can monitor and head the payment of back wages, the office of the Secretary of Labor may even file a suit to retrieve for your back wages and liquidated damages. The Secretary of Labor can actually get an injunction that allows them to restrain employers that violate the FLSA. Grounds for the latter include even the unlawful withholding of proper minimum and overtime wages.


If you’re experiencing hardship getting wages from your work or previous place of work, don’t fret as you have legal options available to you. Click here if you want to get access to a lawyer that can help you with the legalities on the subject.

About The Author
Crystal Goff
Crystal Goff