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How to Collect Unpaid Wages


Definition: What happens when you aren't paid what you are supposed to be? How can you collect unpaid wages that are due you?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for recovering unpaid minimum and/or overtime back pay which is owed to you:

  • The Wage and Hour Division may supervise payment of back wages.
  • The Secretary of Labor may bring suit for back wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages.
  • An employee may file a private lawsuit for back pay and an equal amount for damages, plus attorney's fees and court costs.
  • The Secretary of Labor may obtain an injunction to restrain any person from violating the FLSA, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay.
  • An employee may not bring suit under the FLSA if he or she has been paid back wages under the supervision of the Wage and Hour Division or if the Secretary of Labor has already filed suit to recover the wages.

Also, your State Department of Labor may be able to help with a claim for unpaid wages, so check the website for compliance assistance, as well.

For questions or compliance assistance contact:
Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
Wage and Hour Division
Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
TTY: 1-877-889-5627

Related Articles: Wages and Salary Information | Pay and Paychecks | Employment Law

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