I won a law suit against my former employer for unpaid wages and penalties ($9,000). They said that they don't have any money to pay me, and the company is "dissolved". They changed the company name and are still operating under a new name, so they won't have to pay.
Do you know if the employer's business was incorporated? If the employer did not properly establish his business, he may be personally liable for the debt and you can still seek collection. If the company was "dissolved" to avoid the judgment, you have options to still collect your judgment. You should contact an attorney in your area. Collections can be a complex and labored area of law. Since your employer is trying to avoid its liability to you, I suggest you contact a collections attorney to aggressively pursue the collection of your judgment. Good luck!
This is a common "shell game" tactic. Small companies may change names to avoid liability. You may want to check with the Secretary of State to see when the first company was dissolved and when the second company started. Also, do they use the same phone number, same location, equipment, personnel, clientele as the prior company? If so, this attempt to avoid collection may constitute a fraudulent transfer and may authorize a second lawsuit against the new company, or the right to attach and collect assets of the new company.
This needs to be posted under employment law.
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A company that is a successor in interest of another company's assets also inherits its debts. The California Labor Code has provision to help with collection of wages awarded in a Labor Code case. So in addition to the advice given by the Bankruptcy lawyer, you should ask the Labor Commission about help it might be able to provide with collection problems.
If you got your judgment against the employer through the Labor Commission, try going back to the Labor Commission to see if they can help you collect. They can file a lien against the employer on your behalf if they determine that the new entity is really just a rehash of the old entity.
Additionally, the Labor Commission sometimes relies on a non-profit known as Wage Justice to help its collection efforts. You can talk to the Labor Commission about that as well, or try to contact Wage Justice directly.
Please note that this answer is NOT intended to be legal advice. It is meant to serve as general education about the law. It is always recommended that you consult with an attorney in person that specializes in the area of law that your issue relates to.
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