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Not getting paid at work? Don't count on the state to get that cash!

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 22:31:13-04

If your employer won't pay you, what do you do?

While the state offers a complaint process, don't count on getting your money through it.

Ryan Risselman says he quit his job at Lone Mountain Electric in Phoenix.

He says he was owed one weeks pay of nearly $1,400.

But Ryan says Lone Mountain and CEO Jim Lord didn't pay him.

So Ryan filed a complaint with the Industrial Commission of Arizona.

Records show that Lone Mountain claimed Ryan destroyed company files, but did not offer proof.

Ryan won a judgment and expected the money to follow.

It didn't.

The Industrial Commission says while it can refer cases to the Attorney General's office, it doesn't have jurisdiction to collect.

So Lone Mountain continued doing business.

Over a year and a half, we found 10 former employees, including Ryan, filed wage complaints with the state.

Each won judgments totaling around $20,000 together.

But none got paid through the state process.

Ryan tells me "the problem is there is no enforcement after that. It's up to me to track it down."

Recently, Lone Mountain shut down.

In a voice message, Lord says the business and owners filed for bankruptcy protection with over a million dollars in debt.

And he said the shut down happened "in large part" because of "scumbags like Ryan"... "crap employees like the ones you're trying to defend."

Lord said that refers to some of them, not all of them.

Because it wasn't paid, Ryan's judgment amount tripled to more than $4,000.

Collection options involve the courts, lawyers and more money.

Ryan hired an attorney who did garnish a business account and got $277.

But, Ryan still lost money because the attorney charged him $356 to get it.

He says "the onus is on the me to shake down the employer and get the money."

It's much like collecting on any civil judgment. 

We found another unpaid worker had better luck, garnishing a Lone Mountain account and getting the $4,000+ judgment amount.

And a different worker filed a wage dispute in federal court.

We found that one is still ongoing.

Click here for your options in collecting a judgment.