Thousands of workers in Indiana say their employer left them high and dry—without a paycheck.
Call 6 Investigates analyzed five years’ worth of claims submitted to the Indiana Department of Labor, and uncovered which companies have the most complaints against them and what the state is doing about it.
Since 2013, workers have filed 8,062 unpaid wage complaints to the state, claiming more than $25 million in unpaid wages.
Call 6 Investigates was surprised to see some of the companies with the most complaints are contractors hired by the state and paid with your tax dollars.
Amanda Meyer of Indianapolis prides herself on being a hard worker.
While working for 1st Priority Services, she transported children and supervised court ordered visitation.
“I worked pretty much from sun up until sun down,’ said Meyer. “I worked anywhere from 50-65 hours a week.”
But Meyer said her employer didn’t pay her several paychecks totaling more than $6,000.
“It was horrible, I was unable to pay my bills,” said Meyer. “Emotionally, it’s taken a strain on a lot of relationships.”
David Bowman, of Greenwood, was in a similar boat as Meyer.
Bowman worked as a trainer, helping people on food stamps get jobs.
“I had classes with individuals on how to do resumes and interviewing,” said Bowman.
But when Bowman left his job, he said his employer ResCare never paid him for $700 worth of unused vacation and sick time.
“The check never came,” said Bowman. “I talked to the personnel person and they said they would not pay it because they would not be reimbursed by the state of Indiana for it. I said ‘that doesn’t seem legal.’”
Bowman contacted the Indiana Department of Labor and filed an unpaid wage claim against his employer, ResCare.
Amanda Meyer also filed an unpaid wage claim against her employer, 1st Priority Services.
Records obtained by Call 6 Investigates show ResCare and 1st Priority Services are among the top 10 employers with the most unpaid wage claims in Indiana.
Cms Sourcing Solutions
U.s. Security Associates
United States Postal Service
Angie's List, Inc.
1st Priority Services
Trilogy Health Services
American Senior Communities
Comfort Inn & Suites
Sagamore Home Mortgage
Holiday Inn Express
Two Men And A Truck
ResCare and 1st Priority Services are both listed as state contractors.
Records show ResCare has received at least $26.7 million in Indiana and federal tax dollars over the last 10 years.
1st Priority Services received $275,818 in tax dollars, records show.
The state has not formally terminated its contract with 1st Priority Services, but the Indiana Department of Child Services says it is no longer utilizing the contractor and is letting the contract expire.
Call 6 Investigates took our questions about unpaid wages claims to the director of Wage and Hour at the Indiana Department of Labor, Michael Myers.
CALL 6: There are a few state contractors on the list that have wage dispute complaints.
MYERS: I can’t speak to individual companies.
CALL 6: Can you sanction companies in some way that aren’t paying their workers?
MYERS: We are not given the authority by the legislature to do that.
What the Indiana Department of Labor can do is investigate unpaid wage claims.
“Our goal in Wage & Hour is to help them get paid,” said Myers. “The law states you must be paid for what you work.”
Many people do not realize it’s a free service for workers in Indiana, whether you’re salaried or hourly.
“We’re kind of a jewel in the rough, and that’s the problem—we are hidden,” said Myers. “A lot of people in Indiana don’t know we’re here to help them. You don’t have to hire an attorney and spend time and money and litigation in the courts.”
Call 6 Investigates found over the last five years, workers filed more than 8,000 unpaid wage claims for things like unpaid vacation, overtime, compensation and illegal deductions.
By far the most common reason workers file a claim—not getting a final paycheck.
Myers said some companies believe they don’t have to pay a worker until they return a uniform or equipment, which leads to a lot of the “last paycheck” claims.
CALL 6: Some people will look at the numbers and say that’s a lot of people not getting paid.
MYERS: Right now, I have an analyst that averages about 1500 claims a year. While there could be a lot of claims, we are handling those wage claims.
Call 6 Investigates research found of the $25 million claimed by workers over the last five years, employers paid out $1.2 million of that.
Myers said often times workers do not submit the proper documentation or their math simply doesn’t add up.
The Indiana Department of Labor says when it comes to valid, or meritorious, claims they’re successful about 80 percent of the time in getting workers their money.
“A lot of times, the issues aren’t that the employee is being cheated, but rather a miscommunication between the employer and the employee,” said Myers.
Other times, wage claims roll in because a company has gone out of business.
CMS Sourcing Solutions in St. Clair Shores Michigan has the most unpaid wage claims submitted to the Indiana Department of Labor—60 complaints totaling $95,000 in claims over the last five years.
But when our sister station WXYZ stopped by, the company is gone and a tax preparer is now in their spot.
Call 6 Investigates was unable to reach the owners of CMS Sourcing Solutions via phone or email.
As for 1st Priority Services, Amanda Meyer’s former employer, they’ve left their office on the west side of Indianapolis and won’t return our calls and emails.
“Don’t hire people if you can’t pay them,” said Meyer.
Meyer took 1st Priority Services to small claims court and won an $11,224.96 judgment against them.
"I would love to have that money so i can catch up on bills and student loans, but i don't think I'm ever going to get it,” said Meyer.
David Bowman got a different result after filing a claim with the Indiana Department of Labor.
Bowman received a check for $700, covering his unused sick and vacation time. But he said it was never about the money.
“They were going to get by with it and that's what bothered me more,” said Bowman. “I knew I was right and they were wrong."
Bowman’s former employer, ResCare, is based out of Louisville and is still and Indiana state contractor.
ResCare declined to provide someone for an on-camera interview, but provided a statement to RTV6.
“We are a large employer in Indiana with approximately 3,100 employees,” read ResCare’s statement. “This looks like a very small number of claims listed on the spreadsheet and they date back to 2013, so this number is spread over the course of nearly 5 years. We believe this is a reasonably small amount of claims based on our size.”
To file an unpaid wage claim against your employer, click here:
WHAT YOU NEED TO FILE A WAGE CLAIM
Employee and Employer name, mailing address and telephone number.
The gross amount of claim.
Length of employment – include dates.
Type of claim (e.g. non-payment, overtime, deduction, etc.).
Dates and hours worked if claiming non-payment of wages (see examples below).
Signature and date.
WHO CAN’T FILE A WAGE CLAIM
If the gross amount of your claim is less than $30 or above $6,000
If you’re an independent contractor
If the company doesn’t have a location in Indiana
Your employer filed for bankruptcy protection
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU FILE A WAGE CLAIM
You have two years from the lost wage to file a claim
The Indiana DOL averages 25 days to get a resolution
If they can’t help you, DOL will put you in touch with an attorney or other resources
If you have hired your own attorney, DOL can’t help you
Indiana law provides no job protection if you are terminated as a result of filing a wage claim against your current employer.
FULL STATEMENTS FROM COMPANIES WITH UNPAID WAGE CLAIMS
“We are a large employer in Indiana with approximately 3,100 employees. This looks like a very small number of claims listed on the spreadsheet and they date back to 2013, so this number is spread over the course of nearly 5 years.
From that small number, you also need to subtract several more of the claims noted (looks like by the DOL) as incorrectly submitted for bad math and require resubmission. That makes this an even smaller percentage of our total workforce, taking into account the 5 year time period (5 years x 3,100 = total workforce claim pool of 15,500 employees over that time period). We believe this is a reasonably small amount of claims based on our size.”
U.S. Security Associates Statement
U. S. Security Associates, Inc. has a large workforce comprised primarily of hourly employees. It is our policy and always our intention to pay our employees for all hours worked.
U. S. Security Associates, Inc. offers its employees several avenues to resolve any issues they may have with their wages. Specifically, the employees can report any wage issues to their local branch manager, they can call in to the company's dedicated hotline for pay issues or report any problems to the company's Ethics Point Hotline for all employment related issues.
Angie’s List Statement
“We don’t comment on current or previous claims.”
American Senior Communities Statement
“American Senior Communities is committed to fairly and correctly paying each of our valued employees. ASC employs over 10,500 people, and processes well over 300,000 paychecks each year. We have a robust payroll policy in place which includes a process for prompt correction of the rare error which may occur in any large payroll. Of the claims brought to the Indiana Department of Labor by current or former employees alleging wages are owed, the most of those are decided by the Department in our favor.”
“We are not aware of any outstanding unpaid wage claims in Indiana. Our team confirmed the claims we were made aware of were handled.”