Do I have recourse againt a former employer for missing wages and non-reimbursed expenses?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have recourse againt a former employer for missing wages and non-reimbursed expenses?

I worked many years for a company that I finally left as they owed me nearly $80,000. At one point, I was asked to be taken off of payroll and paid as a contract person for a short period of time until they could afford to catch me up. I was also promised that at tax time, they would pay for what should have been their portion of my FICA. I reluctantly agreed for a short time, and repeatedly asked to be put back on payroll. I now know this was an illegal practice for them to do.

In the meantime, they also went without reimbursing many of my expenses until at the time I finally quit they owned me nearly 80,000. I have repeatedly sent reports, receipts and asked for money owed to me. I haven’t taken legal action yet because the two owners have been in a legal battle over ownership of the company and who owed me the money. That has now been settled in court and neither owner is making any attempt to pay the money owed to me. I need to know if I have a case, and if so where to start.

Asked on September 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You will have two challenges or hurdles based on what you write.
First, proving the hours work, the expenses you were not reimbursed, the amount you were or were not paid, your rate or wage or salary at the time, etc.--if some of this occured years ago, you  may not have good evidence or documentation which, since you are suing and the burden of proof is therefore on you, will handicap your ability to prove your case.
Second, the statute of limitations. You can only claim for unpaid wages as a an employee for two years back--that is, you have to file the suit within 2 years of not being paid, and when you do file, can only claim back from 2  years from the date of filing.
For amounts owed you as a contractor or reimbursement owed you, if there was no written agreement about this, it would be a breach of contract claim for an oral (unwritten) agreement, which means that the statute of limitations is 4 years--so you can only sue for these amounts not paid you within 4 years of when you file your lawsuit. (If there was a written agreement about any of this, you get an extra year, 5 years, to sue.)

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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