COA: Man needed to submit claim under Wage Claims Statute

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An employee’s status at the time he or she files the claim is the relevant inquiry in determining whether he or she proceeds under the Wage Payment Statute or the Wage Claims Statute, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Robert and Keisha Hollis, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, sued Defender Security Co., alleging Defender had violated the Wage Payment Statute by failing to pay agreed wages in a timely fashion. Several months earlier, Robert was “involuntarily separated” from Defender. The trial court dismissed Robert’s claims. Only his claims are at issue in this interlocutory appeal.

The Wage Payment Statute and Wage Claims Statute both deal with wage disputes, but involve different categories of claimants. The Wage Payment Statute refers to current employees and those who have voluntarily left employment. The Wage Claims Statute refers to employees who have been separated from work by their employer and employees whose work has been suspended as a result of an industrial dispute.

In Robert Hollis, et al. v. Defender Security Company, No. 49A02-1004-PL-464, Robert argued his claims shouldn’t have been dismissed because they were brought under the Wage Payment Statute so he wasn’t required to submit them to the Department of Labor. Based on St. Vincent Hosp. & Health Care Ctr. Inc. v. Steele, 766 N.E.2d 699, 704 (Ind. 2002), he claimed which statute to proceed under depends on the employee’s status when the claim accrues as opposed to the employee’s status when he or she files the claim.

Robert argued it is irrelevant that he was involuntarily separated from Defender before he filed his complaint because he wasn’t alleging a violation of the Wage Claims Statute. The judges interpreted his argument to be that an employee who was involuntarily separated would have to file a complaint based on the Wage Payment Statute for alleged violations that occurred prior to the separation. An employee would then submit a separate claim with the DOL under the Wage Claims Statute for alleged violations that occurred during the final pay period.

The judges determined that the relevant inquiry is to the status of the employee at the time he or she filed the claim as to what statute he or she should proceed under, Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

“Robert was involuntarily separated from Defender when he filed his claims and, as such, his claims fell under the Wage Claims Statute. Instead of submitting his claims to the DOL, as required by Wage Claims Statute, Robert improperly filed a complaint based on the Wage Payment Statute,” he wrote. “Because Robert did not allege any Wage Claims Statute violations and submit his claims to the DOL, the trial court properly dismissed Robert’s claims.”


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  1. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

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