Before contacting the Department, when an employee believes he or she has not been paid properly, the employee should discuss the matter with the employer, which can often result in resolution. If this effort is not effective, the employee should make a written demand of the employer. For information regarding what to include in your demand letter click here. It is recommended that this letter be sent by Certified Mail, to ensure it is received, and a copy should be kept by the employee.
If the employee and employer are not able to resolve the issue informally, and the amount disputed is between $125 and $15,000, the employee may file a claim with the Department.
The “initial burden of proof” is on the employee, meaning that the employee has the duty to provide information and evidence to show a likelihood that he or she was paid improperly (or not paid).
The wage claim form guides the employee through the information required to file a claim. The wage claim may be submitted online, or in paper copy via mail, e-mail, or in-person. The wage claim may be rejected if the required information is not provided.
Once the claim is received at the Department, it will be reviewed to determine whether the Department has jurisdiction (legal authority) to accept the claim. The statute of limitations for a wage claim is two years from the date wages were due, meaning, the Department will not accept a claim for wages that were due more than two years ago. The Department accepts claims from employees, but cannot accept claims for wages from independent contractors; the self-employed; owner/partners; or employees who already have a judgment or civil action filed against the employer involving the same wages. If an employer is in bankruptcy, the Department cannot accept a claim for wages and the employee should contact the Bankruptcy Court or a private attorney.
If the claim was properly filed, the Department will send the employee (“claimant”) a letter confirming receipt of the complaint, including a request for any additional information that may be necessary. The Department will also send the employer (“respondent”) a letter including the claim, and requesting a response, including information supporting its position. The Department will then conduct an investigation, which may require additional information requests and/or interviews. Upon completion of the investigation, the Department will issue a “Determination Letter” to both the claimant and respondent to communicate the results of the investigation.
To submit a form online, click here.
To obtain a paper-based copy of the form, click here. Note that the paper-based form must be printed and signed, before submission to the Department.