Do I have a case if the Church doesn’t pay me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have a case if the Church doesn’t pay me?

I am a low income individual seeking justice. I was hired by a Church without signing contract, I only filled out W-4 form and made a verbal agreement. In less than 2 months my pay rate was reduced by 50% about $200 a month, which is significant amount for me. I quit. They didn’t give any response to my emails. I still haven’t received my paycheck from last month. They may not pay me at all. If so, do I have a case?

Asked on March 9, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) They could reduce your pay rate unless you had a written contract locking in or guarantying the rate. In the absence of a written contract, the employer has 100% control over you pay.
2) No matter what, they had to pay you at least minimum wage: if they didn't, you can sue for the difference between what you were paid and minimum.
3) And they have to pay you for all work you did: if the don't pay you at all for some of the work, you can sue them for that.
If the total amount involved is less than or equal to the limit for small claims court, suing in small claims, as your own attorney or "pro se," is the best way to go.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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