The Common Law

Laid Off and Never Got Paid?

Laid Off and Never Got Paid?

The bad economy hurt the last company I worked for, and I ended up getting laid off about five weeks ago. I still haven't been paid for the last two weeks of work I did before I was fired. I've called my boss a couple of times but haven't had any luck getting paid. I don't want to make a big deal about this, but I do want to get paid, as money is tight. Any ideas?

The Texas Payday Law requires that your employer pay you all your unpaid wages. So if your wages are more than five weeks late, you have a legitimate complaint. There are several ways you can try to recover the money.

Your most hassle free option might be to file a wage claim with the Texas Workforce Commission. The TWC administers the Texas Payday Law, which is designed to help employees receive unpaid wages. Any employee who believes he or she has not been paid full wages can file a wage complaint. But don't wait too long, because you have to do it within 180 days of when you should have been paid.

If you submit a wage claim, a TWC investigator will review your claim, a response from your employer, and any other relevant information. The investigator will evaluate this info and issue a written decision stating whether you are owed the wages. Both the employee and employer can appeal this decision if either is dissatisfied with it. You can download wage-claim forms from TWC's website ( and mail them to TWC, or call TWC for more info on submitting wage claims (800/832-9243).

You have other options as well. For example, you could file a lawsuit to recover the unpaid wages, or if you are a member of a union and the work you did was union related, you could file a complaint with your union. Whatever you do, keep fighting to get that money back. After all, you earned it!

Please submit column suggestions, questions, and comments to Submission of potential topics does not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information submitted is subject to being included in future columns.

Marrs, Ellis & Hodge LLP,

The material in this column is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute, nor is it a substitute for, legal advice. For advice on your specific facts and circumstances, consult a licensed attorney. You may wish to contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, a non-profit public service of the Austin Bar Association, at 512-472-8303 or

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