When Companies Don’t Pay Employees: The Ethics of Grinding

With the current state of the economy, many companies are barely making ends meet.  They are low on funds and are finding unfortunate ways to stay afloat.  One of those ways is through grinding their present and past employees.

What is grinding?  Think of the salesperson who is owed a commission from a company but they decide to quit and go somewhere else.  Let’s say the company owes them $20,000 in back commissions.  The ex-employee is still entitled to their commission.  However, some companies may not have the funds or don’t want to pay the commission and stall on the payment.  Meanwhile, the ex-employee is feeling the pain of not having their money and is constantly contacting HR or leadership to find out when it’s coming.

Unfortunately many of these companies play this game for many months before people end up going to lawyers.  The company is betting the ex-employee won’t seek legal representation and even if they do, the corporation has the legal power and funds on their side.  The company may get a threatening letter from lawyers but they know that they have the upper hand and hope that the ex-employee will give up over time, because they will run out of money and patience.

The ex-employee has a better case if they can find others who are not receiving their payments either.  By all of them getting together in a class action suit, their power is increased.

It is illegal for companies not to pay money they owe.  Technically there are labor relations boards that handle complaints.  However, after checking with the local Arizona state labor office, they only will help you with your claim up to $2500.  For a list of state labor offices, please click here.  In Arizona, if your claim is under $2500, they will investigate it and it can take up to 90 days to be resolved.

If your claim is over $2500, they won’t even look at it.  It is then up to you to go through the civil courts which means lawyers, money and time. . .Things that the corporations have on their side.

How to Reinvent Your Career by Dr. Diane Hamilton

For more articles on corporate ethics, check out:

Are Products Really As Green As They Claim

Does Your Boss Want You Dead

CEO Ethics

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