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Wage Claim Process
Any wage earner may file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division of BOLI for unpaid wages or overtime wages. 

Additionally, the Wage and Hour Division accepts claims for final wages owed by employers that go out of business from the state’s Wage Security Fund.

Wage claimants begin the claim process by requesting or downloading a wage claim form from Wage and Hour Division’s webpage. Completing the form requires basic information about the claim, such as the dates of work, the rate(s) of pay, any reason why wages were not paid in full, and a close estimate of the balance of money due.
Note that once BOLI receives a wage claim form, that document becomes a public record and may be disclosed upon request. To the extent permitted by law, BOLI does not disclose a claimant’s residential address, personal telephone numbers or personal email address if the claimant requests that this information remain confidential.

Wage Claims th​at Are Not Accepted

Generally, BOLI does not accept a wage claim if any of the following is true:
  • More than 6 months have passed since the date of termination and the claim does not involve minimum wage or overtime*
  • More than 1 year has passed since the date the violation first occurred and the claim does not involve minimum wage or overtime*
  • The claim is for penalty wages or expenses only
  • The claim is over $10,000 and does not involve minimum wage, overtime, or prevailing wage rate
  • The claim is for commissions and the employer paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked
  • The claim is from a member of a union or collective bargaining unit. (Union members are encouraged to speak with a Bureau representative before filing a claim.)
  • The claimant has already begun private legal action to recover the wages claimed
  • The claimant has not yet asked the employer for unpaid wages
  • None of the work was performed in Oregon
  • The claim is against a business in which the claimant was a partner or an owner or in which the claimant had a direct financial interest
  • The claim is against a close relative of the claimant
  • The claim is against a person the claimant is unwilling to take to court.
*Exceptions may apply if a claimant was an active military service member during this time.  
Once the Wage and Hour Division determines a claim is complete and within its jurisdiction, the division sends a notice of claim letter to the employer. If the employer disputes the claim or fails to pay wages due, the division assigns the claim to a Compliance Specialist for further investigation and resolution. 

The length of an investigation can vary depending on the complexity of the claim and the responsiveness of the parties involved.

BOLI will attempt to recover all wages owed on a valid claim, but collection depends upon the employer’s financial ability to pay, any business closure, bankruptcy filing or the location of money and assets. Once a claim is assigned to BOLI, the agency may compromise or adjust wage claim amounts or penalties. 
Wage and Hour Complaints
BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division distinguishes between “wage claims” and “complaints.” In addition to wage claims, the division accepts wage and hour-related complaints (on items other than claims for unpaid wages).  A complaint could have to do with items like working conditions violations or recordkeeping and payroll practices that violated applicable wage and hour requirements.  A complaint may be submitted online​.  

As with claim forms, the agency may release information within a complaint on request as required by public records law. 
Alternatives to the Wage and Hour Division
Employees owed unpaid wages may elect to pursue their claims by way of the small claims court in the county in which the employer is located (if the amount is $10,000 or less) or by filing suit with a private attorney.  

October 2019

Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice.  Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations.  This communication is not an agency order.  If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.  We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current.  We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.