My Company Won’t Pay Me! Now What?

OK, so your company didn’t pay you a salary or they didn’t pay you your expense money, what do you do? I know what I did! This is if you were an employee.

Update: By the way, if you didn’t see Wireless Horizons is going to protest the citation! In an article by Tom Raum in the Southeast Missourian, found here, you will see that Rick Heisler, president of Wireless Horizon, states that he respectfully disagrees with OSHA and will vigorously contest them. Another article found here.

In case you didn’t see it, a guy climbed a power tower and fried himself before falling over 70 feet, no idea why, I guess we will never know, link is here.


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So here’s what happened. I worked for a company as an employee that racked up the expense money, they put off payment with lame excuses and I was stuck. Many people wonder how you let something go for to several thousands of dollars. I will tell you that when you are working a job or for a company your primary goal is to finish and keep going. It doesn’t take long before you are in the hole for a lot of money. Simple expense money is not cheap and it adds up over time. When you are booking a hotel and then adding meals it doesn’t seem like much. Then when you buy hardware for a job because you have people on site who want to go home, it makes sense to get it ASAP and think about the cost later. Before you know it you have thousands of dollars gone. This is one thing that most customers like to ignore. It’s funny when they limit the expenses of their own employees that may travel twice a year, meanwhile you are living on the road, but that is another story. 

Then they laid me off, owing me thousands of dollars in expense money. I think that they thought they would get away with because this company did business by not paying unless they absolutely had to. This was not different in their eyes.

Here is what I did, I called a lawyer. He gave me great advice, for free, he told me not to use a lawyer because it would cost me money and would eat into what they owed me, it could be more than they owe me. He told me to go to the department of labor for that state. So remember, that when working the legal system that many times it is more about money than justice. He told me to go to the state department of labor and file in claims. I did this. It was a learning process and one that took time. I had all of my information, the agreement, the list of expenses, the amount owed me and so on. Make sure you include any interested owed to you and estimate about another 3 months in there because it will take about that long to get it resolved. Always keep the paperwork with the agreements or the employee handbook. This is specifically for employees. I will do another post for contractors. 

Remember to make sure you get the agreement (or employee handbook) in writing or print because you will need to prove that they owe you the money. Getting things in writing, even email, is huge! Make sure you not only have it in writing but you keep it somewhere safe. In other words, the company’s computer isn’t the best place! Keep it on a thumb drive, on a personal computer, or print it out. You may have to testify that you spent the money for that company, so review everything and make sure that you know what the equipment was for. Make notes. Put them in an organized fashion when going to court and preparing everything. 

So what I went to the department of labor in that state and filed a claim. They had the process online. Now, this took some time to do it right! I made up a spreadsheet of everything they owed me and put the receipts or a copy of the receipts together in one package. I also had the credit card bills that I used to build the spreadsheet. I put it all together. I also took the expense reports I filled out and added them as well. I also had a copy of the work contract. All of this impressed the judge. I am not sure if he was a judge or a councilman but I called him “your honor” all the same. 

I had to drive 3 hours to go to the hearing, again, a day off work at my new company, but they understood. I went to the hearing after the other party delayed the hearing 3 times, the maximum allowed and always at the last-minute! so when hearing day came, they didn’t even show up. I won favor with the judge and then he told me they still have another 21 days to appeal. This drove me crazy, another 21 days? I fully expected them to delay as long as they could. They had 21 days to appeal and 30 days to pay. I could not believe it! 

So, much to my surprise, they did pay me, on the last day the check arrived in the mail. They did not follow due process, as usual, they just sent  a check. So I had to alert the state department of labor that they paid. The state followed up on the case, they made sure and they wanted to see a copy of the check and wanted to make sure it cleared. They were on top of this and they take employee’s pay very seriously. This is a good thing because some people just give up, but the DOL did not, they wanted to be sure the process was complete.

So listen, the department of labor is the worker’s friend! So is OSHA and the FCC. They are on the workers side. I know that now. I appreciate them. 

So if you don’t get paid, don’t just walk away because you will not only lose your money, but the company will screw as many people as they can. Let’s face it, most people are lazy, they just chalk up the loss and walk away. Depending on how much money it is, I may have to. When it’s enough money, then you need to do something. I am telling you, companies “not paying” are very common in this industry. I will write another article about when companies don’t pay the contractor. This is very common as well. The only thing I can say it make sure that you don’t work for them again! EVER! That is, until they pay you. Then use your better judgment and get ready for small claims court.

So, if you want to this make you have a legitimate complaint! Don’t start something because you thought could expense alcohol, that is going to be a problem if it’s not in the company handbook. Also, you are going to working with the state Department of Labor. Show them respect, don’t be a jerk and understand that you don’t know it all, got it? The judge is the boss, not you, listen to what they say and don’t challenge them unless you have solid grounds to stand on. If you have a temper and you don’t like what you hear, keep it in check. Make sure that you understand that you need to file in the state where the work was done or where the person you are charging resides.  If I don’t have the link you need below then Google the Department of labor + the state you need. It takes time, it takes patience, and you need to think this out. What I mean by that is don’t put everything together half-ass, you know what I mean!

What do you think of not getting paid and/or Wireless Horizon protesting the citation? 

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