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laid off and owed Pennsylvania

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  • laid off and owed Pennsylvania

    here's my situation. I've recently been given a termination letter that states:

    "Due to a decrease in available work and a substantial decrease in cash flow this month, you are being laid off effective today"

    There is no stipulation as to how long the layoff will last.

    Also all of my medical benefits have been cut "effective immediately" And with a rambuctious 3 year old and pregnant wife at home.. I see this as a huge problem.

    But here's the bread and butter. As of today my former employer owes me nearly 10 grand in back wages, moving reimbursement, unused comp time and unpaid overtime. I was able to get him to sign a letter stating exactly how much he owes, accounting for every penny. The letter does not address a time table of any sort as to when money is due, It simply says this is how much you owe me. It has only been 5 days, money is coming into his business this week and he already making excuses as to why he can't pay me a portion that he verbally agrred to on my day of termination.

    So what do I do. How can I get my money as fast as possible. I feel he's completely in the wrong. It can't be legal to let someone go oweing them money and just not pay them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    1. Do you have an enforceable agreement regarding your moving expenses? What is the time frame specified for reimbursement? In any case, this is not a matter of wage and hour law that any Dept. of Labor is going to enforce; it's a civil, contract issue (i.e., you'd have to sue for it).

    2. Do you work for a government? Comp time is not permitted for nonexempt employees in the private sector. If you are in the public sector, the comp time is payable at the point the employment relationship is terminated. I'm confused, however, whether you are on "layoff" status in the true definition of the word and are subject to call-back when conditions improve. Or are you, in fact, terminated and the word "layoff" was used to soften the blow. Only your employer could tell you that for sure, but my guess is that it is the latter, since you mention that your insurance coverage was stopped immediately. And why hasn't previous overtime been paid yet? Does this overtime go back to previous pay periods?

    3. Whether you are have been "laid off" or "terminated", your pay for time worked is due whenever it would be due under the normal payroll schedule. PA law does not require accelerated payment of wages in either case.
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    • #3
      I do have an agreement, he signed off on, detailing everything I'm owed. Including moving money, back wages, o.t., etc.. Although I've been working there through dec 1st. I have not received a paycheck since the end of Oct. My overtime was for the last pay period that he missed. In addition, I'm 5 weeks down on wages, to be exact. This is a small company (not govmt) and 4 of his 6 employees have been let go. He says it's a "lay off" but I am 100% sure I will never be going back. My fear is that the business will go under before I get my money.

      EDIT: As to time frame.. the termination letter states: We will pay as much as possible out of money we receive this week and will continue to be a priority out of any and all monies we recieve from any sources.
      Last edited by unemfloyd; 12-05-2006, 08:45 AM.


      • #4
        To enforce the moving expense reimbursement agreement, you would have to file a civil claim.

        For the back wages and the back overtime, including the comp time which was never legal anyway, I would still go ahead and file a claim with the state Dept. of Labor. I would have done that as soon as it became clear that this company was not going to pay you on time, like, after the first regularly scheduled payday was missed. It may or may not get you your money any faster (whether there is cash to be used or not is questionable), but at least the order to pay would be issued by the DOL and it would put you, generally speaking, near the top of the list should the employer file some type of bankruptcy.

        Seriously, I don't know why people keep working for companies who can't/won't pay them.
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        • #5
          by filing with the DOL does it immediately hit him.. I mean. he doesn't own anything and bankrupting him will mean I also lose everything he owes me.. I'd like to get the money somehow before going to the most extreme measure.

          but I think a wake up call that he could lose his business over this.. if that's case, would give him the incentive to make a plan to reolve the issue. I think right now he's hoping we'll all just go away
          Last edited by unemfloyd; 12-05-2006, 12:46 PM.


          • #6
            Well, the DOL will contact him and find out why he isn't paying. When you file the claim, you can ask what steps they take to "order" him to pay and how much to pay, and what happened if he doesn't; every state is different as far as the actual procedure is concerned. I would guess it would take a minimum of 2-4 weeks before your claim is actually worked anyway (especially at this time of the year), so there is no reason to wait. But again, please note that the DOL is charged with enforcing wage payments only, not your expense reimbursements.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.