Question from Shelly, What Can You Do If You Weren’t Paid for Work?
Answer from AI:
If you worked for a company for a year and were never paid or given tax papers, you have several options to pursue the compensation you are owed. Here’s what you can generally do:
Document Your Employment and Attempts to Get Paid
- Keep a record of all the hours you worked, including dates and times.
- Gather any communication between you and the employer regarding payment.
- Make a note of any verbal agreements or promises made by the employer.
Contact Your Employer
- Reach out to your employer to request your unpaid wages and tax documents.
- Send a formal demand letter if necessary, outlining the amount owed and the legal implications of non-payment.
File a Wage Claim
- If your employer does not respond or refuses to pay, you can file a wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor.
- The WHD can investigate and require your employer to pay the wages you’re owed.
Consider Small Claims Court
- If the amount owed is within the small claims court limit (which varies by state), you may file a lawsuit in small claims court.
- This option can be pursued without a lawyer, but understanding the process is important.
Seek Legal Assistance
- Consult with an employment lawyer who can provide personalized advice and representation.
- An attorney can help you understand your rights and the best course of action.
- Legal aid organizations may offer assistance if you cannot afford a lawyer.
Report to the IRS
- If you did not receive tax documents, such as a W-2 or 1099, report this to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- The IRS can take action against employers who fail to provide necessary tax documentation.
Understand Your Rights
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and provide overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Employers must also keep accurate records of employees’ wages and hours worked and provide tax documents such as W-2 forms.
It’s important to act promptly, as there are time limits for filing claims related to unpaid wages. If you’re unsure about the process or your rights, seeking legal advice is strongly recommended. An attorney can guide you through the process and help ensure that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
Remember, each situation is unique, and this information is not a substitute for personalized legal advice. If you find yourself in this situation, consider reaching out to a legal professional who can assess the specifics of your case and provide guidance tailored to your circumstances.