One occasional feature of this blog is a short post on a law or regulation that is commonly overlooked.
Today’s installment revolves around wage and hour claims in Connecticut. Suppose that an employee claims that he is entitled to unpaid overtime wages for years because he has been misclassified as an exempt worker.
How far back is the employee entitled to go for his claim for damages? Or, in other words, what is the statute of limitations on wage & hour claims in Connecticut?
A look at the wage statutes reveals nothing. How can that be? Because you have to go digging somewhere else entirely. Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-596, entitled "Actions for payment of remuneration of employment" has the rule:
No action for the payment of remuneration for employment payable periodically shall be brought but within two years after the right of action accrues, except that this limitation shall be tolled upon the filing with the Labor Commissioner of a complaint of failure to pay wages pursuant to the provisions of chapter 558.
In plain English, what does this mean?
Two things. First, claims must be brought within two years after the paydate in which the missing wages are allegedly due. Or, put another way, an employee who claims unpaid wages can only look back over a two-year period for recovery. Second, the time period can be extended if the employee has filed a claim with the Department of Labor for failure to pay wages.
For employers, this statute should not be overlooked. It can help limit damages in cases of unpaid wages. And when an employer discovers an issue of unpaid wages, it can determine its potential exposure to this issue by applying this statute of limitations.