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Wage Recovery Under Federal Law

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2020 | Firm News |

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Employees who can prove that they are owed unpaid wages can seek recovery of those wages, in addition to punitive damages, by filing a claim in civil court. This can have devastating consequences for employers, many of whom are unaware of payment discrepancies due to payroll or record keeping errors, so if you have questions about your own legal obligations to your employees, are revamping your wage practices, or are being accused of failing to pay your employees a fair wage, please contact an experienced West Palm Beach unpaid wage claim lawyer who can help explain your legal options and defend your interests.

Methods of Repaying Unpaid Wages

Under federal law, any wages that have allegedly been withheld in violation of federal law are automatically given the status of unpaid overtime compensation or unpaid minimum wages. This is also true for:

  • The additional wages required under federal law to meet the equal pay standard; or
  • Any wages that should have been paid to an employee whose wages were reduced in an attempt to equalize that person’s pay with that of an employee of the opposite sex who is doing the same work.

The federal government utilizes a number of methods when it comes to recovering wages in these cases. For instance, in some situations, the Wage and Hour Division is authorized to supervise the payment of back wages and can then file suit against the employer for liquidated damages in an equal amount. Alternatively, the employer could face a lawsuit filed by the employee seeking back pay and an additional sum, up to the amount of back pay, in addition to court costs and attorney’s fees. This option, however, is not available:

  • To employees who have already been paid back wages in full by their employer; or
  • If the Wage and Hour Division has already filed a claim to collect allegedly overdue wages.

Finally, the agency can request a court injunction to restrain the employer from further violating the law, which includes withholding proper compensation. In the event that an employer is accused of purposely violating federal wage laws, that individual could also face criminal prosecution and fines of up to $10,000. Subsequent convictions could even result in imprisonment.

Statute of Limitations

It’s important to note that there is a two year statute of limitations that applies in cases involving the recovery of unpaid wages. The only exception to this deadline is in situations where a plaintiff is claiming that the employer purposely violated federal law, in which case, the claim will be governed by a three year statute of limitations.

A Dedicated West Palm Beach Unpaid Wage Claim Attorney

If you want to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable unpaid wage claim lawyer about your company’s wage practices or an employee’s unfair attempt to collect allegedly unpaid wages, please call 561-868-1340 today and a member of the legal team at Pincus & Currier, LLP will help you set up an initial case review. You can also reach us by completing and submitting one of our brief online contact forms.