Illinois Gets Tough on Wage Theft
Illinois amended the Wage Payment and Collection Act (“IWPCA”) to give employees new powers and protections when an employer fails to pay an employee her “final compensation” or otherwise violates the IWPCA (other provisions specify when wages must be paid, what deductions are allowed, and what records must be kept).
The IWPCA requires employers to pay a departing employee all final compensation owed no later than the next scheduled payday. “Final Compensation” includes everything the employer owes the employee for “wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, and the monetary equivalent of earned vacation and earned holidays, and any other compensation...”
The amendments to the IWPCA give the employee added rights and powers including to:
· Pursue more individuals for personal liability through a broader definition of employer
· Go straight to court without first filing a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”)
· Bring a case as a class action
· Recover reasonable attorney’s fees if she prevails
· Obtain additional damages of 2% per month of the amount not paid
· Receive a penalty from the employer of 1% per day if the employer fails to pay the court ordered amount within 35 days of the order
· Sue for retaliation if an employer discriminates against an employee for making an IWPCA complaint and recover her damages, costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
The amending act – known as the Illinois Wage Theft Enforcement Act – is available here:
Submitted by Brian D. Moore, Class of ‘92