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According to ORS 652.150 I should receive penalty wages?

Portland, OR |

I have gone around and around with the HR and Payroll Dept. when I was discharged from my job, in additional conversations, I had to remind them the importance of Oregon State Law. I was dischargedd on Feb 13 and after the last call made on feb 24th, they stated they would pay me on feb 29th, I just checked and yes, it was direct deposited today, Feb. 29th. Contacted BOLI, I have tried to find an attorney that would do this contigent but to no avail. Should I proceed with this huge company in small claims on my own? Should I fear doing that? My hourly rate times all the business days past the 24 hour period is what is due but i only received pay of approx. what was due and payment made Feb 29th. This is wrong.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You're technically right in that you would likely have been entitled to penalty wages, but unfortunately it's not quite that simple and having you demand payment of them is unlikely to work.

    Recouping penalty wages requires two separate and specific notices, as well as other administrative hoops, and I can't help but assume that you're beyond the point where you could successfully deliver those notices and then assert a successful claim.

    Numerous attorneys in the area, myself included, regularly handle non-payment of wage issues on a contingency fee basis. Often, however, an attorney is retained immediately, before the matter proceeds without having crossed your t's and dotted your i's, so to speak. At this point, since you've already gotten your regular wages paid, there's little chance of an attorney stepping into the case for a contingency fee.

    You can attempt to proceed on your own via small claims court, but I would be surprised if it is successful. First, I don't know that you'd be able to assert this claim there in any event, and second, I'd be shocked if the employer didn't request a jury trial and thereby remove the case from small claims altogether. Once that occurs, you'd essentially be in the same position you're in now: in need of retaining an attorney to represent you, despite how difficult that may be to do since few, if any, attorneys would take the case at that point on a contingency fee.

    If you do proceed in that manner, however, I hope you'll come back and comment here to let the attorney posters know how the case was ultimately resolved.

    A bit of a head's up, however: your calculation that penalty wages may be due for only "business days" is incorrect. Once penalty wages are implicated, they accrue at your normal rate for eight hours per day for up to thirty days (business days or otherwise) until the wages due are paid.

    Good luck!

    If you found this answer helpful, please click the "Mark as good answer" button, below. If you'd like to contact me regarding potentially taking your case, please feel free to click on my profile and give my office a call. My answer to your Avvo question, however, is informational only and is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it form the basis for any attorney-client relationship whatsoever, which can only be formed upon signing an Engagement Agreement and depositing a Retainer Fee into client trust. Further, I am only licensed in Oregon and laws vary from state to state. If you have an Oregon-related issue, feel free to contact me for a consultation. If you are outside of Oregon, please consult an attorney in your area for legal advice.

  2. My firm handles late payment claims on a contingency fee basis. We offer free consultation and prefer to sue large companies. Look us up on line.

    Information is provided to assist the reader in forming questions and allow them to take full advantage of a consultation with the attorney of their choice. Schuck Law, LLC does not provide legal advice to individuals who have not signed a written fee agreement with the firm. The facts, which were not disclosed in the written question may change the advice, if any, that would be rendered by the attorneys at Schuck Law, LLC. For these and other reasons, Schuck Law, LLC is not responsible for any damages caused by the reader's use, mis-use, or interpretation of the information provided herein.

  3. I do a lot of wage claims. In my 24 years experience, both in defending and presecuting such claims, such claims are handled on a contingent fee basis. Furthermore, having a lawyer greatly increases the chances of settlement because the one-sided fee recovery provisions of ORS 652.200 make it very risky and expensive for an employer to fight such claims. Penalty wages are "wages" for purposes of entitlement to fees even if all actual wages have been paid.

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