Boss won't pay me. What to do?

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Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:31 pm

Hey guys,

I'm in a really embarrassing situation, and aside from looking for a different job, I'm not sure what to do.

At the beginning of the month I started a job as a "project director" (in title only) for a small company in Bellingham. After the 3rd week of work, the boss was unable to write a check for me or the assistant, even though the bookkeeper was able to process the payroll for the first two weeks of work (I assume she wasn't paid either, however). My boss did try to negotiate paying me monthly instead of bi-weekly, but I need money to live. This also suggests that since the company isn't making much/any money, she can't afford to pay me. :-? We're well into the 4th week now, and I don't think the company will make it.

I checked WA state's L&I but I couldn't find a specific form or site for wage claims. I found one for below-minimum-wage, which isn't the case here. What do I do? Can I walk down to the local county courthouse and talk to someone there?

I'm in a really embarrassing bind here. I obviously don't want to work here anymore but I DO want money for wages owed. I don't want to sue for wages because while I do need this money to pay my rent, it's not large enough that a lawyer could make anything off of. Also, while this might be an aside, she (my boss) has two kids and is a single mom. She has it pretty rough as well, and I'd rather just get my check then go through litigation.

Any serious legal advice from law-practicing gerbils a plus. The quickest solution would be the best; my other boss is getting really upset (my girlfriend :) )
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:40 pm

Why didn't you leave after the first two weeks? No check, no work. Then I'd hand him ass in court.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:46 pm

If you're not getting paid, you need to quit so you have time to find a real job that pays big American dollars. Court or none, you can't stay there.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:47 pm

If she doesn't have the money then there's not much you can do but cut your losses and get another job ASAP. As you said, litigation would be ridiculous (and cruel) but nobody else will pay you.

You can talk with her and see if there's anything you can do but I'd go and job-hunt now (or even yesterday).

[edit]You should definitely make your situation clear to your boss though. Be polite but firm. Since you need to pay your rent, it's just as important for you. The money is *your* money, so unless she has nothing you should get paid.[/edit]
Last edited by ChronoReverse on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:49 pm

pete_roth wrote:Why didn't you leave after the first two weeks? No check, no work. Then I'd hand him ass in court.


Yeah you could try that pete_roth, but I don't think you'd get far.

Payroll works likes this in most companies:

pretend you start on Monday, and work M - F.
Monday, the 1st being your first day, and Friday the 5th being the end of your first week.
So 1 week, then 2nd week, and in the 3rd week payroll is processed. You're paid at the end of the 3rd week, or Friday the 12th in this case.

Now that we're into the 4th week, however, yeah I *could* just not show up. To be honest, there's very little work here to do. That's symptomatic of the fact that she's not very organized, doesn't come into the office, etc etc etc.
If you're not getting paid, you need to quit so you have time to find a real job that pays big American dollars. Court or none, you can't stay there.

Yeah I was going to leave early today to go to a temp agency, but the boss said she'd stop by. So, I'm here waiting to see if she actually comes through. I'm not raging-upset but I'd prefer to quit in person and work out getting a paycheck in person. If this person is as snaky as I suspect, trying to work out payment over email or normal mail just won't happen.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:57 pm

You may be able to recoup some of your lost wages through your state's unemployment insurance office.

http://www.esd.wa.gov/uibenefits/index.php
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:03 pm

JJCDAD wrote:You may be able to recoup some of your lost wages through your state's unemployment insurance office.

http://www.esd.wa.gov/uibenefits/index.php


That's what I initially figured as well but I'm not even close to the initial requirement: logged 680 hours in the base year.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:33 pm

Why don't you file a claim in small claims court? Very cheap, no lawyer necessary, and you can sue for up to $2,000. As with most legal options, you don't need to actually do it, just mentioning the idea can be enough to lubricate the wheels.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:51 pm

Theres always petty claims court, it may take months but as long as you've got an employment contract and some proof of working the hours you will win the case.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:58 pm

Leave, NOW!
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:52 pm

Go get a job at a contracting agency and work out the details of this job after the fact.

Here are a few in the Seattle area (don't know if they do Bellingham):
http://www.ciber.com/ (tell them I sent you -- PM me if you decide to talk to them), ask for Tim Poole
http://www.solutionsiq.com/
http://www.teksystems.com/
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:13 pm

Buub wrote:Go get a job at a contracting agency and work out the details of this job after the fact.

Here are a few in the Seattle area (don't know if they do Bellingham):
http://www.ciber.com/ (tell them I sent you -- PM me if you decide to talk to them), ask for Tim Poole
http://www.solutionsiq.com/
http://www.teksystems.com/


Dang these all sound like good temp agencies, but they're for people with IT backgrounds, which I don't have. I'm a business undergrad. I'm touched by your willingness to help, though. I checked ciber and it didn't look like they had anything by the way of Bellingham.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:18 pm

I was in a similar position a few years ago when i worked for a small PC repair shop. My boss had been late on almost every time he paid me for about 6 months, but I loved the job so I stayed longer than I normally would have. Eventually he increased hours for the other techs that worked there, and the red flag came up, I knew I had to get out of there. The next week I told him that things weren't going to work out with me there, and worked out a payment plan for the money he still owed me.

Is there any chance that if you quit tomorrow, is the boss respectable enough to pay you out the rest of the moola she owes you? If not, you can always threaten to not keep a closed mouth about how she screwed you. If she is either embarrassed about the situation or doesn't want bad light shed on her business, that might be the leverage you need. Either way, get out before it gets worse.

EDIT BY MOD - Captain Ned - That's not family-friendly
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:38 pm

Fighthouse wrote:EDIT BY MOD - Captain Ned - That's not family-friendly


Er, I think he was joking, Captain.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:53 pm

ssidbroadcast wrote:
Buub wrote:Go get a job at a contracting agency and work out the details of this job after the fact.

Here are a few in the Seattle area (don't know if they do Bellingham):
http://www.ciber.com/ (tell them I sent you -- PM me if you decide to talk to them), ask for Tim Poole
http://www.solutionsiq.com/
http://www.teksystems.com/


Dang these all sound like good temp agencies, but they're for people with IT backgrounds, which I don't have. I'm a business undergrad. I'm touched by your willingness to help, though. I checked ciber and it didn't look like they had anything by the way of Bellingham.


Sorry, I presumed, this being Tech Report and all. :-)

There's always HotJobs.com and the business-related temp agencies.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:54 pm

You can't get blood from a stone.

Unless you have reason to believe things at this place will turn around in the next few days, you need to cut your losses, and actively seek other employment. Look at it this way... you're not getting paid; you are effectively unemployed. Act accordingly.

I'm not saying you shouldn't continue to try and get the back wages you are owed; but IMO you do need to get out. Now.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:01 am

Ditto the above sentiments, this can only go from bad to worse. Get out before you flush another productive week down the drain.

The only time you should be working a gainful job without the gain is if your title is "part-owner" and you fully expect to be getting a shoestring income for a while in order to establish the business. To reinforce what the others have said, you can try explaining to the business owner that you can't live without rent money and need to work out some sort of repayment schedule, else you will regrettably have no option but to take this to small-claims court. If that doesn't work, you can then follow through and take it to small claims court, or just cut your losses and be done with it.

Meanwhile/otherwise, if you need income fast, then you need to get your name on file at a minimum of two, and preferably three, temp agencies. Call in to each of them at least once a week and even twice if you're bored (first thing Monday morning, and then again sometime on Wednesday or Thursday to "see how things are going"). Temp agencies make their money by placing you, so while you don't want to irritate the agent and sour the relationship, your wheel should definitely squeak -- that confirms to them that you are eager and avaialble.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:00 am

This is sort of outside the box, but does she have anything you want? I mean, cash is best, but whatever your rate of pay is, maybe she's got a motorcycle or quad or something that you can use as compensation.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:17 am

Start finding a new job now. Sign off techreport and start calling agencies!

I used to work for a small PC shop and at one point when things got bad, employees would race each other to the bank on Fridays because there wasn't enough cash in the payroll account to pay us all. The last few to arrive were told "sorry, we can't cash that". We'd have to drive back to work, and the owner would pay us whatever cash he had out of pocket until the next week when enough customer receipts came in to pay off the rest. I quit that job and went back to school.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:27 am

DaveG wrote:Start finding a new job now. Sign off techreport and start calling agencies!

I used to work for a small PC shop and at one point when things got bad, employees would race each other to the bank on Fridays because there wasn't enough cash in the payroll account to pay us all. The last few to arrive were told "sorry, we can't cash that". We'd have to drive back to work, and the owner would pay us whatever cash he had out of pocket until the next week when enough customer receipts came in to pay off the rest. I quit that job and went back to school.



Wow, that's horrible. Thanks for the tips guys, I have an appointment with a temp agency tomorrow. We'll see what happens from there.
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Update

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:19 pm

I just got off the phone with the boss. Apparently she is working on a project that a client previously rejected because they were dissatisfied with the quality. She said she'll be paying me today after she turns in the revised project to the client and collects payment from them. Which confirms it, she doesn't have the money to pay me. :evil:

I've been in a lot of sticky situations in my short life, but this time I'm really up s-creek.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:24 pm

I've been in a lot of sticky situations in my short life, but this time I'm really up s-creek.


If your rent is about to come due before you have the money to pay it, don't wait until the landlord starts filing overdue notices and threat of suit. Go to the leasing office BEFORE you're overdue and explain the situation, and that you want to pay in full just as soon as the situation gets sorted out. (If possible, have the paperwork from the temp agency with you as proof that you are seeking different work.) Depending on whether you're dealing with a local owner, or some mutual fund-owned faceless property management company three states away, this may be beneficial or it may be a waste of breath, but at least try. If nothing else, they may still assess a late penalty, but otherwise accept your payment without prejudice.

The alternative if you just leave them hanging is that they accept your late payment WITH prejudice, and then refuse to renew your lease at the end of the term, and then ding your damage deposit for every little thing and STILL wait the full 30 days (or whatever Washington allows) to refund it. Now suddenly you've got two weeks to find a new place AND come up with both a new security deposit plus first month's rent, and...well, that just gets bad. At that point the jokes about refrigerator boxes become a lot less funny.
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Update 2

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:42 pm

I called the office today. Boss wasn't in, still no check. :evil:

I went to a local temp agency today. I asked for something either receptionist/office assistant related. They said that they had something from a manufacturing business, and asked if I would mind "that sort of environment." I told them about my office assistant background at a large beverage distributor-complete with warehouses and forklifts, the usual-so it wasn't a problem.

Then she (temp agency staffer) said, "You need full time, right? What kindof hours are you looking for?" and it went a little downhill from there.

I'm taking ONE class over the summer quarter, and it's on Tues. and Thursday. She said that would probably be a problem. :evil: That sounds familiar...

You know, going to school AND working a job isn't such a problem, it's finding said job that is hard as hell. I really don't want to sell out my future and quit school just so I can live. :-?
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:30 pm

I hate to say it man, but if you're working full time then they expect you to be free during normal business hours. Night classes exist for a reason.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:23 pm

^ Maybe so, but real jobs with companies worth your time and effort offer flexibility to their employees to keep them around.

You might be dodging a bullet here...
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:44 pm

herothezero wrote:^ Maybe so, but real jobs with companies worth your time and effort offer flexibility to their employees to keep them around.

You might be dodging a bullet here...


not so much when in the hiring phase
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:58 pm

Politely terminate your employment now. Conceptually your boss will be required to process your termination fairly quickly because of that, and should be able to at least pay off the debt (your pay) with a business credit card or some such...
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:39 pm

SNM wrote:I hate to say it man, but if you're working full time then they expect you to be free during normal business hours. Night classes exist for a reason.


Believe me, if night classes (times past 5pm) were an option, I would have gladly taken it. WA State doesn't subsidize Summer Qtr classes, and the student body is significantly smaller during summer qtr, so there is only ONE time slot for this class and that's that. Nothing I can do but take this class. It's a fairly small school.
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Re: Boss won't pay me. What to do?

Postposted on Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:55 pm

not so much when in the hiring phase


I guess that depends what you bring to the table...
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Update 3

Postposted on Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:17 pm

Hey guys,

So on Thursday I had an interview with a construction co. that needed an office assistant. They said they'd give me a call either "Friday or Monday" for a 2nd interview with the boss. That said, they *did* post another ad in the same spot on CL, implying that perhaps there was something about me or my qualifications that left something to be desired. :-?

All my proper paperwork and assessment tests are done with the temp agency. They want me to call them on Monday to see if I have any work.

On Saturday, I even stooped to applying for a drive-in burger joint. At this point it doesn't matter anymore, I need something.

Today I'm looking into applying for foodstamps and perhaps even cash from DSHS. The last time I resorted to welfare it was in the form of foodstamps, and that was over 5 years ago. I don't like doing it because I'm an upstanding citizen for the most part, and not a deadbeat or an alcoholic. I *shouldn't* have to be faced with these kindof decisions, esp. at my age. But oh well.

Oh, and the boss? I wrote an email Friday night explaining that if her company is insolvent she should be consulting her accountant and perhaps taking steps to bankruptcy. She's in the process of negotiating contracts with local county agencies (police dept. hospital, etc) and I told her that I'm nearly compelled to notify them of the companies distinct lack of organization or working capital. I told her that if I don't hear back from her with a clear plan on payment, I'll walk down to the county courthouse to seek my options there. Still no call back or email. :evil:

So, we'll see how it goes I guess on Monday.


Edit: Nazi typo: accounting ≠ accountant.
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