How to take legal action gaint an employer that owes me money?

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How to take legal action gaint an employer that owes me money?

I am a behavior analyst and work with children with autism. I had not deposited my paychecks for 9 months and when I did in 6 months ago, most of them got returned. The company ows me more than $20.000. My employer keeps avoiding to pay the back pay using many excuses since then. Even though she provided me a written statement for pay dates, it is not happening because “her expected funds didn’t come”. I want to take a legal action in order to have her pay. However, I don’t want to spend my own money to proceed this. I know I have a case. Is it possible to have my company pay for my legal fee?

Asked on November 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in the "American System" of justice, it is very rare for the winning party to recover its legal fees from the losing party (unlike in the "English System," where normally the loser does pay the winner's costs). Therefore, if you sue your empoyer--which is the only way to get the money, if they will not pay you voluntarily--you will have to bear your own legal fees. While the amount in controversy is more than the small claims court limit, you are allowed to represent yourself in the regular county courts; however, with $20k+ at stake, it's well worth hiring and paying an attorney to get your money.


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