Why the Department of Labor Can’t Always Help You Get Your Last Paycheck

If you call the Department of Labor to help you recover your final paycheck you will sometimes find they are not very helpful. It’s no wonder, the State and Federal Departments of Labor have a lot of different issues to deal with and helping you get your last paycheck may not be their top priority.

If you call your state Department of Labor they usually not much help at all, especially in a state like Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Labor has a lot of different things they do from workforce development to administering unemployment insurance claims. This means helping you get your last paycheck is probably not going to be their priority, if they can help you at all. And when there are no laws they can use to help get you your money there’s really not much they can do anyway.

In other states, the State Department of Labor might be a little more helpful. In California for example, where there are strong state laws in regards to wage and hour issues, the state may be more willing and able to help you get your money.

The Federal Department of Labor may be a better bet, but again they may not be so helpful, especially if you are the only one in your workplace with your issue. Like if your boss decides to just not pay you your last paycheck because he is upset you quit to start a better job. If it isn’t some sort of widespread issue that impacts everyone you work with the federal Department of Labor may not be able or willing to spend the time required to make sure you get every penny you deserve.

The federal Department of Labor is involved in drafting policies, writing regulations, helping business owners to understand the law and understand if they are in compliance with the law so they may not be able to take the time to help you with your case.

Sometimes the federal Department of Labor will help you but their efforts can be half-hearted. They might call or send a letter to your employer, and sure the Department of Labor is a scary group to receive a letter from if your own a small business. But the Department of Labor doesn’t really have much of an incentive to get you all the money you are owed. They may be willing to accept the business owner’s offer of a settlement which is half or even less of the amount of money you might be owed. And in the end there and so many violations of the labor laws and wage and hour laws in this country the Department of Labor just really doesn’t have the resources to help everybody who needs assistance.

That’s why the Fair Labor Standards Act has provisions to give lawyers an incentive to take even the smallest case. The most important provision is what’s called the “shall pay” attorney’s fee provision. Typically in the United States the general rule is each side pays for their own attorney’s fees. This means if you’re owed a relatively small amount normally you would have to pay a lawyer however much it costs for them to recover your money. Lawyers’ fees can quickly spiral out of control so spending thousands of dollars on a lawyer might not be worth it if you only owed a few hundred dollars.

The “shall pay” attorney’s fee provision changes that. This rule means even if you only recover a dollar from your employer your employer has to pay every penny of the fees and cost your attorney charges to recover the money. It allows a lawyer to take your case even if you are only owed a day of pay.

If you are owed any amount of money from a previous employer contact Atlanta employment lawyer Ben Kandy to see if there may be something that can be done to get you the money you deserve.

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