#AskFarnoosh: How to Trace Lost Money?

In our inaugural #ASKFarnoosh column (which, very sorry, was supposed to go up Friday, but I got terribly busy!), I tackle a viewer’s question about how to trace back money he’s owed by an old employer.

Hadi asks:

I need assistance to claim funds that I believe are owed to me by a previous employer. After almost three years of searching I have been unable to locate. Can you recommend an individual or company that may be able to assist me in this matter.

Dear Hadi,

Three years is a long time! While employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck right away, the general statute of limitations is about two years. So you are way overdue! Your first resource – if you haven’t checked with them already – should be The Department of Labor.  It’s a great user-friendly resource for detailed information on the rules around when and how you should be paid. The DOL is also where you can file a complaint.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you have a few methods for recovering unpaid wages.

(1) The Wage and Hour Division may supervise payment of back wages.

(2) The Secretary of Labor may bring suit for back wages and an equal amount as liquidated damages.

(3) An employee may file a private suit for back pay and an equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.

With all of this, patience is key. “The process can be slow. If you have a serious problem, however, you might need to seek the help of an attorney, specifically someone who specializes in benefits and labor law,” says attorney Roy F. Harmon with Harmon & Major, P.A. located in Greenville, South Carolina.  And before you hire legal rep, give your previous employer one last chance. “Armed with the facts, you can always call up your old employer and make a request that they send your money. It could persuade them to move more quickly before ever having to seek legal action,” says Harmon.

This week’s #ASKFarnoosh topic: Credit. Tweet me your question @Farnoosh using #askfarnoosh or ask via email at farnoosh@farnoosh.tv

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