Wage and salary claims are lawsuits that usually involve an employer failing to pay their worker the proper amount of wages at the required time.  Along with discrimination claims, wage and salary claims are the most litigated issue with regards to employment law.

Though state laws on wages and salaries may differ, wage and salary claims can involve a variety of employment violations, including:

  • Withholding wages or salary for a specified time period
  • Withholding overtime pay or failing to apply overtime rates
  • Failing to pay minimum wage or the correct wage
  • Paying wages late
  • Issues with wage garnishment

Wage and salary claims are also known as “wage and hour” lawsuits.  They are typically governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

What are the Remedies for Withheld Wages or Salaries?

The most common remedy for withheld wages is that the employer simply has to pay the employee for the amount of wages that were withheld within the given time frame.  In some cases, the employer may also have to pay civil damages for additional losses caused by the withheld wages.  In some cases, the court may order the employer to change their workplace policies if these were an issue in the lawsuit.

A wage and hour lawsuit usually begins by being filed first with a government agency, who will then conduct an investigation into the violation.  If the governmental agency is unable to remedy the situation, a lawsuit may then be filed to recover a damages award.

Can I Get Fired for Filing a Wage and Salary Claim?

No- under federal and state whistleblower laws, an employer may not terminate an employee simply because they have reported a violation or filed a claim involving withheld wages.  Terminating an employee in order to “get back” at them for filing a claim is known as “retaliatory discharge” and is prohibited by law. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Wage and Salary Claim?

Wage and salary claims can often be very frustrating for workers who have lost their wages.  The laws on wages can often be complex, and may vary from state to state.  If you need advice or legal representation for a wage and salary claim, it’s essential that you contact an employment lawyer immediately.  An experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on the steps to take to obtain the best legal remedy.