My Employer Refuses To Pay Me—What Are My Options?
Have you been doing honest work only to realize that your last check did not come through? In this article, DoNotPay answers the “What should I do when my employer refuses to pay me” question.
When your employer breaches a contract, there are several ways to seek remedies and collect damages. We will explain these options in detail and help you settle your dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you want your problem solved immediately, sign up for DoNotPay.
A breach of contract occurs when one contractual party fails to honor the terms of the agreement. If they violate all the terms, the contract becomes irreparably broken—making this violation a material breach of contract.
The non-breaching party has to prove the breach has occurred by demonstrating its elements. Check the following table for details:
|Existence of a valid contract||A non-breaching party must prove the validity of the agreement. For a contract to be valid, it needs to include:
|Non-breaching party’s performance||The aggrieved party should prove that they had performed all the terms of the contract|
|Breaching party’s failure to perform||The non-breaching party needs to demonstrate that the other party did something to breach the contract—e.g., an employer refusing to pay wages|
|Losses that occurred due to the breach||Another element is the damage that the breach caused. If a non-breaching party can prove that they suffered losses because of the breach, they have a valid case|
If the injured party cannot prove all of these elements, the defendant can use it as their defense.
If your employer refuses to pay for hours worked, you have the following options:
- Contact the employer directly
- File a claim with your state’s labor department
- Send a demand letter
- File a lawsuit
Before you assume that your employer did not pay you your salary on purpose, you should consider asking them in person. If there has been a mistake, your employer can rectify the situation.
In case you are worried about confronting your employer, keep in mind that there are laws against discrimination and firing employees based on their requests to be paid. Employers must pay their employees at least a minimum wage according to state and federal laws.
If your employer still refuses to pay you, it is time to file a claim with your local state’s labor department. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a federal agency that enforces federal labor standards and promotes workers’ well-being. In your case, the most important law that the DOL enforces is the Fair Labor Standards Act that establishes minimum wage and overtime pay.
To file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHS), you will need to provide the following information:
- Your full name, address, and phone number
- The name of your employer (company)
- Location and contact information of the company
- The name of the manager or owner
- Services you performed for your employer
- Payment schedule and method
Filing a complaint with the WHS can take a long time—what if you need the money fast? You can write a 10-day demand letter that should nudge your employer into paying you within the deadline you set—in this case, ten days.
A professional breach of contract demand letter should contain the following:
- Names of both parties
- Detailed description of services you performed under the contract
- Amount the employer should pay you under the agreement
- Due date for payment
- Previous attempts to collect payment
- Consequences if your employer does not pay you
If the breaching party ignores your final letter, the next step is to file a lawsuit.
You can go to a small claims court if the amount you are owed is between $3,000 and $10,000, but this depends on your state’s limit.
You do not have to go through online templates or hire expensive lawyers—DoNotPay can draft a formal and fully personalized demand letter in a heartbeat. Our AI-powered app uses a comprehensive state laws database to generate a letter that complies with the regulations in your state and covers the specifics of your case.
To start generating your letter, sign up for DoNotPay and follow the steps below:
- Select the Client Breach of Contract tool
- Add all the necessary details about your case, such as:
- Name of the parties involved
- Services you provided the employer
- Amount that you are owed
- Set the deadline by which the employer must pay
Once you provide all the required information, DoNotPay will generate your demand letter in a few seconds.
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