Failing to pay an employee about $840 in wages nearly cost one employer an additional $16,000 for the employee’s attorney’s fees, until the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s award. To collect damages and attorney’s fees, Oregon law requires an employee to notify their employer about the potential wage claim, giving the employer an opportunity to remedy their mistake. But this employee’s notice failed to state her name or the amount she was supposedly owed. The employer argued the notice wasn’t specific enough to satisfy the law’s requirements and the appeals court agreed. Thus, the employee was entitled to the $840 for wages owed, but not the $16,000 for attorney’s fees (Belknap v. U.S. Bank National Association, Or App, June 2010).
Tips: Violating wage payment laws may be an easy mistake to make, but it can also be a costly one. If you receive notice from an employee claiming that you owe them money, don’t hesitate to take action! Contact your Vigilant staff representative or your corporate counsel and plan your response immediately. Like the employer in this case, the right response could help you avoid large sum lawsuits. For more information, see our Legal Guide, “Final Paychecks” (1648).
This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult Vigilant or legal counsel.