Nothing Changed After I told HR That I Did Not Receive My Last Paycheck After Leaving

The first thing you as an employee should do if you have not been paid your last paycheck after leaving your job is to inform your employer’s HR. If the HR officer fails to respond to your inquiry and you wait a while and you still do not receive your last paycheck then your employer could be guilty of wage theft. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has laws that ensures that employers pay their employees for work completed even if they have left the job for good. If an employer fails to pay your last paycheck after leaving the job, then it is violating the FLSA. If this has happened to you and you have the evidence to prove it, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wages and Hours Division (WHD) which is responsible for investigating violations of the FLSA.

Overview of Wage Theft FLSA Violation

Many states have their own laws for paying last paychecks when employees leave their jobs. Some states do require immediate payment. Often the time given depends on whether you are leaving voluntarily or because you were fired or laid off. According to the FLSA employers do not have to pay employees their final paycheck immediately. If the normal payday for the last pay period you worked has already passed and you have not been paid, you should contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division or your state’s labor department.

Failing to be paid your last paycheck after you have left your job could be wage theft which is a violation of the wages and hours laws according to the FLSA.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Wage Theft

One of the first things to do after you have been waiting a long time for your last paycheck but have not yet received it, is to notify your employer’s HR because it could just be an honest mistake. If it is a mistake, then it means you should get the unpaid wages and you do not need to pursue a wage theft claim. However, if you notify HR and hear nothing but you still have not received your last paycheck, here are some steps you could take. The key step is to contact the Wages and Hour Division of the Department of Labor with your complaint by completing an unpaid wage claim form.

You will need to include the following:

  • your full name;
  • your contact address and phone number;
  • name of your employer;
  • location of your employer’s company, if it is different from your workplace
  • your employer’s phone number;
  • manager or owner’s name;
  • details of your job;
  • how and when you were last paid (e.g. by check each Friday).
  • You should also provide other information if you can that may be useful, like copies of pay stubs and personal records you have kept of hours worked. This helps to confirm that you have not already received your last paycheck.

The officer assigned to your complaint by the WHD will contact your last employer and ask why your last paycheck has not been paid. If your employer responds quickly and admits to not paying this final payment, the officer will ask your employer to pay your last paycheck in full as soon as possible. If your employer denies wage theft, then further investigations will be carried out. If it is found that a violation of the FLSA has taken place, the WHD may decide to file for a hearing to take place in court which could result in imposing large fines on your employer or even imprisonment, if your employer has committed more than one offense. As well as being paid your last paycheck you may be entitled to damages and attorney’s fees.

Keep Track of All Communications

You should keep hard copies of any communication with your employer’s HR such as:

  • the date and time that you informed your HR of the potential wage theft;
  • the message sent by you to the HR;
  • any follow ups with the HR that you made.

Gathering Evidence of Wage Theft

The official from the WHD may ask you for some evidence proving you have not received your last paycheck after leaving. This should include:

  • comparing pay stubs to hours you have actually worked;
  • providing a copy of your employment contract.

The official wants to make sure that nothing has been overlooked related to your employment contract before further action is taken to get your last paycheck paid.

Speak With an Attorney

If you speak with an employment attorney about your wage theft s/he will ensure you have sufficient evidence all in one place to support your claim. An employment lawyer can also  tell you the options for challenging your employer’s wage theft for not paying your last check before leaving the job and discuss whether your case is worth pursuing.

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