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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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