Everything You Need to Know About Suing An Employer for Paying You Late

Employers in Ohio do not have the right to withhold paychecks, and workers may sue them in court for late payments. Here’s all you need to know about suing an employer for late wages in Ohio.

The Fair Labor Standards Act considers late payments equal to unpaid wages and allows employees to sue for the overdue wage amount, liquidated damages, and attorney fees. Workers can try to settle the issue with Ohio’s Department of Commerce before suing by submitting a minimum wage complaint form. Federal law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees filing FLSA claims with discrimination or job termination.

What is a late paycheck under Ohio law?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specifies employers must pay non-exempt employees the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Employers must pay workers one and a half times the regular hourly rate for overtime hours. In Ohio, the minimum wage as of 2022 is $9.30 an hour. The late payment of wages is equal to nonpayment under the FLSA and will result in the same penalties as unpaid wages.

Ohio law treats tipped workers differently regarding the minimum wage. Tipped workers must receive a minimum of $4.65 an hour if their tips bring them to $9.30 an hour. The tipped worker minimum wage is higher if the worker’s tips do not reach the state minimum wage for all workers.

Employers must pay workers at least two times a month. While the employer can choose to pay a worker more frequently, they are liable for unpaid wages if they pay workers less than twice a month. Workers may receive wages through cash, checks, or direct deposit.

Related: Ohio Workplace Discrimination Laws

A fired employee is entitled to their last paycheck on the final payday or 15 days after the last day of employment, depending on which occurs first. Employers offering compensation for unused vacation time must stick to their policies after terminating an employee.

Suing for Late Pay in Ohio

Before taking legal action, employees should try to reach out to their employer and reach an agreement privately. Employees can file a minimum wage complaint at no cost with the Ohio Department of Commerce to have their claim investigated. If the employer refuses to pay the earned wages, the employee has a right to sue the employer.

Workers can file lawsuits against employers for unpaid wages even after they’ve been fired or left the job. Since the employer is likely to have a legal team, workers should hire an experienced attorney to defend their claim. Lawyers in charge of unpaid wages cases will:

  • Review past payments and communication surrounding unpaid wages
  • Request the unpaid wages directly from the employer
  • Present the laws applicable to the case
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf if the employer is uncooperative
  • Represent you in court

Small claims courts usually handle unpaid wages cases where the plaintiff seeks damages of $6,000 or less.

Damages for Unpaid Wages Lawsuits in Ohio

Employees can recover back pay to compensate for the unpaid wages and may be entitled to liquidated damages equal to the late payment amount. Courts can force an employer to cover the costs of the employee’s attorney and other legal fees.

Ohio’s Prompt Pay Act states an employer is liable for six percent of an employee’s claim in addition to liquidated damages when wages are unpaid for thirty days after the regularly scheduled pay date. If the percentage is less than $200, the employer will have to pay $200 rather than six percent of the unpaid claim.

An employer willfully withholding wages will face a more severe penalty. To prove the employer willfully violated the FLSA provisions, the plaintiff must show the employer knew they were breaking the law and acted with reckless disregard.

Related: Ohio Disability Discrimination FAQs

Plaintiffs can request the courts garnish the defendant’s wages, attach the defendant’s bank account if their bank is known, or implement a judgment lien against the defendant’s owned real estate.

FAQs About Suing Your Employer for Late Pay in Ohio

What types of employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The U.S. Department of Labor specifies executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees are exempt from some provisions of the FLSA. Specifically, the employees are exempt from minimum wage and overtime regulations.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit for late payments in Ohio?

Ohio workers have two years from the last violation date to file a claim for unpaid wages under the FLSA. The employee can sue up to three years after the most recent violation when the employer willfully violates the FLSA.

Can my employer retaliate against me after filing a lawsuit?

The FLSA prohibits employer retaliation against workers filing a complaint or cooperating in an FLSA investigation. Employers cannot discriminate against employees with minimum wage or overtime claims, whether the claims are verbal or written.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Sue Employer For Paying Late Ohio, get your free consultation with one of our Employment Attorneys in Ohio today!