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Questions related to Back Pay Laws

Meghan Jones

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Recovering back pay may be difficult and may take weeks and months. Being well informed about the different laws is the first step in taking the right decisions with regard to recovery. Ignorance of the law results in many individuals suffering when moneys owed to them by way of back pay are delayed or withheld. It also leads to uncertainty and leads to many legal questions. Given below are some frequently asked legal questions about back pay laws.

Q. How can an employee recover back pay, if he/she has not been paid for the last ten weeks of work?
One may take the matter up with the top management. If the top management fails to take any action, then the employee may file a wage claim. In some states the employee may have to contact the Federal Department of Labor as the Labor Department may not handle these issues.

Q. A teacher who is employed with a school has finished his/her Masters course but received the actual degree much after he/she started to work. At the time of employment, the teacher was promised the difference in pay between the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree for a period of one year that the teacher had been working. But the difference in pay was not paid. What legal action can be taken against the employer?
One may file a claim for back wage. But before doing that, the employee may meet the Superintendent in charge and present the case. If that fails, one may contact the local wage and hour agency and file a claim with them, free of charge. One may get in touch with the local employment lawyer. Whether one can file a suit or not may depend on the proof one has, which establishes that he/she is entitled to back pay.

Q. Would an individual’s unemployment insurance be affected if he/she contacts the Public Employee Relation Board for back wages that he/she has to receive from his/her ex-employer?
Unemployment may not be affected if this one has to receive does not cover the same weeks for which the individual is collecting unemployment. However if this and the unemployment period overlap, one may have to repay unemployment for the benefits received during that period.

Q. Would an individual be eligible for back pay if he/she was not informed about accounting for certain number of hours that he/she worked on his/her time sheet?
Rules may vary in different organizations. In most cases, if the employee is being paid on an hourly basis, he/she may be entitled to the same back pay, that any other employee who has worked for the same number of hours may receive

Q. Can an individual collect unemployment if he/she is fired by his/her employer for trying to collect back pay from the Labor Board?
An individual may qualify for unemployment if he/she is fired from a job for trying to recover back pay from the Labor Board. An employee may be disqualified for unemployment benefits only if he/she is terminated for misconduct. The employee may have to explain to the labor board, that the employment was terminated because of the above mentioned reason. The employee may also take legal action against the employer for wrongfully terminating his/her employment.
It may sometimes be difficult to recover back pay from employers. However, understanding the different back pay laws can help you with the process. You can ask employment lawyers and clarify any doubts that you may have.


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