It can be upsetting and irritating if your employer doesn’t pay you on the agreed date or your wages are lower than expected. However, many employees find it difficult to know the right way to approach their boss, as well as what their legal rights are when it comes to their pay. Both federal and state laws govern the payment of wages, and these laws are complex. However, if your employer has not paid you, it is important to know about which laws apply as you may be entitled to make a claim against them which would not only force them to pay any wages owed but also penalties, and in some cases, your attorney fees.
Before you do this, however, the best action to take initially is to approach your employer to find out whether your missed wages were an oversight or if they have reasons why they haven’t yet paid you.
What is the best way to discuss missed wages with your boss?
1. First, you should be clear in your mind what pay issues you want to discuss. Be precise and exact and make sure you have your facts right. Find your contract or offer letter so you can use this as evidence if your boss claims you agreed on a different rate of pay. Gathering time sheets, recording hours worked, and collecting previous payslips will also help the discussion go more smoothly.
2. Ask your boss when a convenient time would be to schedule a meeting. Explain what it is about but don’t go into too much detail. Simply say you’d like to talk about a possible pay discrepancy. Your boss may come back to you asking more questions or could simply refer you to HR or the finance team (if you have one). If however, you need information from your boss such as to confirm your salary and hours worked, explain that you need to talk to them first.
3. Try to stay calm. It can be distressing to have been paid incorrectly, but letting your emotions get the better of you won’t help matters. If you have detailed, accurate records, use these to explain your points. However, make sure you don’t hand over original documents in case you do decide you need to make a legal claim against your boss in the future. If your boss refuses to discuss the matter or refuses to pay you despite your evidence, it is still advisable to keep calm. Getting angry or making threats could be held against you and put your job in jeopardy, too. If you are concerned that your boss will act unreasonably, you could always ask a neutral third party, preferably someone from HR, to join you and make sure that you make a note everything that is being said.
4. Remember to state your willingness to resolve the issue and if any further information is asked of you and try to provide it as quickly as possible, if you can. The more reasonable, open, and honest you are, the better your chances of resolving the issue quickly and stress-free.
5. If your discussion with your boss is unsatisfactory, you may wish to consider filing a complaint with federal or state authorities. If you do so, make sure you hire an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process.
Unpaid Wages – What to do?
The professional attorneys at DeWitt law are dedicated to helping all our clients get paid correctly and will help provide you with advice and an aggressive defense. If you want to find out more about how we can help you get the wages you are owed, get in touch with our employment law team for a free consultation today.