I quit my job and my employer owned payment for the last 4 weeks.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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I quit my job and my employer owned payment for the last 4 weeks.

My last day at my former job was august 25 and I’m still waiting for my payment. I hear from my foemer coworkers that the owner has not paid anyone at the company either since I left. Its a small business and the owners was always late paying everyone but this time is taking longer than ever. On top of that, he doesn’t have anyone on payroll. Everyone works as contractors with 1099s but are actual employees. The owner keeps promising me he’s going to pay me but it’s taking too long. Can I file a complaint with the labor dept? What will happen if the owner actually doesn’t have the money to pay me?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Actually, the easier, faster way to get the money is to sue for it--a small claims case for unpaid wages is fast, inexpensive (in my state, NJ, around $50, and you can get that from the other side if you win) and straightforward for a nonlawyer. It would be a "breach of contract" lawauit: violating the agreement (even if only an oral or unwritten one) under which you agreed to do work in exchange for pay; since you did your part (worked), the employer is reciprically obligated to honor its obligations and pay you. It will get you results faster than a complaint to labor. The one issue is--and it's an issue for both lawsuits or labor dept. action--is that if the employer was an LLC or corporation, you have to sue the LLC or corporation, not the owner personally; and if the LLC or corporation is bankrupt, insolvent, out of business, etc. you could win the case and still not get paid, because winning a legal action does not make money appear where there is none.
If you did not work for an LLC or corporation, you worked for the owner personally (even if under a d/b/a) and can sue him personally--and if necessary, try to collect from his own personal assets.

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