Legal Question in Employment Law in District of Columbia

Withholding pay illegal?

My company began to lose money in July 2001. They decided to lay off most of the staff to help alleviate the problem. I was one of a small group of 7 who remained on staff.

My employer informed those of us who remained on staff that they ''could not afford to pay us for the time being.'' Therefore, they did not give us a paycheck for over one month. Of course, we continued to work as usual.

Fortunately, the company bounced back and they are now paying us regularly (that is, every two weeks). However, I still have not seen any of the money they owed me from that period of time (4 months ago) when they were not paying us.

Isn't it against the law to withhold pay? Especially since it's been 4 months?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.

Asked on 4/22/02, 7:39 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Withholding pay illegal?

DC wage and hour laws require that employers pay

all salaried employees according to regular established pay periods.

Have you thought about diplomatically asking for your back pay that is still owed but yet unpaid?

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4/22/02, 8:17 pm
Jay Holland Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A.
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Re: Withholding pay illegal?

Witholding pay for employees is, in most circumstances, a violation of federal and D.C. law. If you make demand for that pay, and there is no bona fide dispute as to the fact that it is owed, and how much is owed, and your employer fails to pay, then you may be entitled to double the amount owed and attorneys fees. If your employer fails to pay, I would be glad to answer any further questions, by contacting me. Thank you.

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4/23/02, 10:22 am

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