A brief note: Don’t forget to demand unpaid wages before suing!
In a recent case in U.S. District Court (D. Minn.), Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank recently ruled on a motion to dismiss a claim under the Minnesota Payment of Wages Act because the Plaintiff did not make a demand for unpaid wages, as required by the statute, until the lawsuit was commenced. In response, the Plaintiff argued that she was able to demand unpaid wages after the commencement of her lawsuit. Judge Frank rejected that position, reasoning that, because the Plaintiff in the case before him (Barger v. BlueSky TelePsych, LLC) did not make a demand for unpaid wages prior to the commencement of this lawsuit, Judge Frank was compelled to dismiss the claim:
The Minnesota Payment of Wages Act requires an employer to pay an employee unpaid wages “within 24 hours after demand.” Minn. Stat. § 181.13. If the unpaid wages are not paid within 24 hours, “the employer is in default.” Id. “Until there is a demand as required by the statute, after resignation or discharge, the statutory provisions have no application.” Chatfield v. Henderson, 90 N.W.2d 227, 232 (Minn. 1958). In Chatfield, the Supreme Court of Minnesota held that a demand for unpaid wages must be made prior to the commencement of a lawsuit. Id.; see also Outdoor Env’t, Inc. v. Maro, No. A04-1332, 2005 WL 1020898, at *4 (Minn. Ct. App. May 3, 2005) (concluding that no demand had been made when the respondent made the demand after litigation had begun, in his answer to the complaint).