Late Wage Payment—Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Late Wage Payment—Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies—Garrett v. Prologistix, 2017 WL 4782508 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2017) (not for publication)—The Texas Labor Code requires an employer to pay “in full” all wages due to an employee within six days of the termination of employment. Tex. Lab. Code § 61.014. If the employer pays in full a few days late, is it still liable to the employee for any amount? Section 61.014 does not indicate any liability or consequences for an employer who eventually but belatedly pays what is due. However, the administrative proceedings described by section 61.051, et seq., might lead the Texas Workforce Commission to impose an administrative penalty under section 61.053 if the Commission finds that the employer acted in bad faith. In this case, an employee acting pro se sued the employer in court for being nearly two weeks late in paying wages. The court of appeals affirmed dismissal of the employee’s claim. The only remedy for a late wage payment is an administrative proceeding to prove bad faith, but the employee failed to file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission. Note however, that prolonged delay in a payment of wages is also a breach of contract (with potential liability for attorney’s fees or interest) and potentially a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (which provides for liquidated damages).

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