I understand that you may want to sue in small claims court because there is not a lot of money at stake and so it may not be of interest to an attorney. But in most states, small claims procedures limit your ability to require the other side to produce documents, which you may need because you have lost your own documents. So this may not be the best procedure for you. Also, keep in mind that whatever the employer did to you, it probably did to other workers too. In some states an employer who withholds wages may be required to pay additional money and/or your attorney's fees. Finally, employers who fail to pay workers sometimes set up different companies to hide their income, and you would benefit from some advice about whom to sue.
For all these reasons, you should try to talk to an employment lawyer about this problem before deciding how to proceed.
Disclaimer: This site exists to provide information only. It is not legal advice. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am a Massachusetts lawyer. Any information provided on this site does not, except as explicitly stated, imply familiarity with laws or procedures peculiar to your state which may differ from those where I practice.Ask a similar question