What Do I Do If an Employer Refuses to Pay Me?

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Labor and employment law attorney Elizabeth Unrath advises unpaid employees to first gather contact information for the business and then talk to their state's labor board. Failure to pay wages is illegal and considered to be a form of theft.

When an employer ceases paying employees, it is sometimes an indication that the business itself is in trouble. If this is happening, Life Hacker recommends looking for a new job. An alternative is having a serious talk with the employer, requiring him to explain exactly what is going on and why he is not paying the wages that have been earned. The U.S. Department of Labor classifies all forms of unfair wage shortage as nonpayment, including failing to pay appropriate overtime, failing to pay for all hours worked or paying less than agreed-upon wages.

Even if the employer pays up, human resource specialist, Karen Unrath, recommends polishing the resume and to start looking around for other positions. If the employer does make it through the financial tight spot and starts paying regularly again, it is still wise to approach them, and ask for guarantees that nonpayment will not be an issue in the future. If such a guarantee is not forthcoming, the employee should make plans for future nonpayment including personal budgeting and preparations to seek another job if necessary.