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Guide to Unpaid Wage Claims in NJ

Experienced Roxbury attorney answers common questions about compensation disputes

When workers get cheated by their employers, they often feel they have no place to turn. Once you’ve gathered the necessary information, you should consult an employment attorney with a history of success in wage and hour claims. You might be able to recover the wages you’re owed along with additional compensation for the delay in payment.  My Roxbury Township firm, Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq., offers answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding these matters:

If you don’t find your question here, I’m ready to answer additional questions in person and give you specific information based on your circumstances.

Contact a board-certified lawyer for your NJ wage claim

Roxbury New Jersey employment attorney Kevin T. Kutyla, Esq. helps workers obtain the unpaid wages they deserve. Call 973-940-8970 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. My office is conveniently located in Succasunna at 15 Commerce Boulevard, just off Route 10.

Are unpaid wage claims common?

Quite common. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division reports that it recovered a record $322 million in unpaid wages for workers in 2019. WHD says it has assisted 1.3 million workers with wage and hour disputes in the last five years.

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What are some reasons employees file unpaid wage claims?

The most common reasons for unpaid wage claims are minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime, and rest and meal break violations. The minimum wage in New Jersey is set to increase gradually through the year 2027, when the rate will be $15 per hour. However, employers sometimes require workers to perform job tasks before clocking in and after clocking out, or while they are on an unpaid break. This lengthens the workday and lowers the pay per hour. Some employers also take illegal deductions, such as uniform maintenance, out of an employee’s pay. Little by little, the worker’s actual pay falls below the minimum. These tactics can also deprive workers of earned overtime.

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Is there are time limit on claiming unpaid wages in NJ?

Yes, the New Jersey statute of limitations sets a limit of six years for wage claims.

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Where do you file a claim for unpaid wages in NJ?

You can file a claim for unpaid wages with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for a wage collection proceeding. You can also sue the employer in state court.

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Is there a limit on the amount of wages I can collect in New Jersey?

Yes and no. As of August 2019, the maximum claim for unpaid wages before the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development is $50,000. If you want your case heard there, you must waive any amount over $50,000. However, you can recover the full amount if you file a civil lawsuit in state court.

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What are liquidated damages in wage claims?

Both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the NJ Wage Theft Act allow workers to recover liquidated damages. These are additional statutory damages set at 200 percent of your actual losses. So, if your employer wrongfully withheld $5,000 in wages, you could recover a total of $15,000.

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Can a decision for unpaid wages be appealed?

Yes. Either party may appeal a decision by filing a written notice of appeal with the state’s Department of Labor’s Wage Collection section within 20 calendar days of the decision. The Superior Court of New Jersey hears these appeals.

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