Private lawsuits can take a long time to reach a conclusion. The more complex a case is, the longer it can take to be resolved.
When it comes to wage theft, cases may go on for a long time because employers may not want to go down without a fight. Losing a wage theft claim may look bad for them, so they may fight tooth and nail to ensure that they come out on top, even when they know they are guilty. That is the nature of the beast.
If you have strong evidence in your case that you have been the victim of wage theft, it can put you in a better place to settle your claim. Wage theft includes not being paid minimum wage, not being paid overtime, not being paid for the total hours worked, not being given the final paycheck upon leaving a job and not being paid at all. Wage theft also includes digital wage theft, like being clocked out for breaks that were never taken, or being asked to work “off the clock”.
Settling a wage theft case might seem like the best option, especially if you want to avoid a lengthy court battle. Though settling will ease some of the stress, it can still be stressful and you should consult with an employment attorney to make sure you have all of the information you need.
Ways to Settle
There are a number of reasons a defendant might offer a settlement in a wage theft case. The biggest motivating factors include saving time and money. It will cost a lot of money to fight a case, especially when the company knows it was in the wrong, and the longer the case, the more it will cost. Settling, then, may be the cheaper alternative.
The downfall to accepting a settlement is that more often than not your employer may offer a lower amount than what you might be requesting. You need to consider whether taking the offer, even if it is less than what you are asking for, is worth it.
The upside to taking a settlement deal is that you will be paid faster. Once the settlement is accepted, your employer is required to pay you afterward so you will have your money much sooner.
The pros and cons must be carefully considered because they vary for every case and every situation. Ending the case might be more valuable than getting the full amount that you are hoping for. Then again, if the amount is far less than what you are asking for, then taking the settlement deal might not make sense.
Settling in a Hearing
There is a process involved in accepting a wage theft settlement. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to attend a hearing where the final settlement deal will be negotiated. Your employer will make an offer, you and your attorney will review it and a judge or labor representative acting as a mediator will oversee the process to ensure that everything is done fairly.
Even with settlements there is still some negotiation. You don’t have to accept the initial offer and you can make a counteroffer. The judge might step in and inform your employer that there is a minimum amount that must be met, depending on your particular circumstances. The hearing is there for your protection and to ensure that your needs are being met with a settlement and that both sides reach an agreement.
If you are thinking about accepting a settlement from your employer in a wage theft case, you should strongly consider speaking with an employment attorney to ensure that you are getting the most from the offer.
Speak With an Employment Attorney
The decision to settle a wage theft claim is a challenging one and should be made with as much information as possible. Having an experienced employment attorney working with you can make a huge difference.
An employment attorney understands how to make the most of a settlement deal. They are experts in employment law and they know what wage theft victims are entitled to in settlements.
Given the amount of evidence in your case, and upon examination of the circumstances, your attorney may be able to tell you whether a settlement makes sense, whether you should ask for more money or if you should continue to fight in court.
Most employment attorneys work on a contingency basis, so there is no need for payment upfront and you only pay if you win your case. Though working with an employment attorney will not guarantee that you will win your case, it can greatly increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
For more information about how an employment attorney might be able to help you with your wage theft claim, fill out a Free Case Evaluation.