Payment of less than minimum fair wage; recovery of deficiency; unclaimed award; deposit of funds
Section 20. If a person is paid by an employer less than the minimum fair wage to which the person is entitled under or by virtue of a minimum fair wage regulation, or less than $1.85 per hour in a manufacturing occupation or in any other occupation not covered by a minimum fair wage regulation, the person may institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred and for the full amount of the minimum wages less any amount actually paid to him by the employer. An agreement between the person and the employer to work for less than the minimum wage shall not be a defense to such action. An employee so aggrieved who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any loss of minimum wage and shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees. At the request of any employee paid less than the minimum wage to which he or she is entitled the attorney general may take an assignment of such wage claim in trust for the assigning employee and may bring any legal action necessary to collect such claim, and the employer shall be required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney’s fees as may be allowed by the court. The attorney general shall not be required to pay a filing fee in connection with any such action.
In any action or administrative proceeding by an employee or the commissioner instituted upon such a wage claim in which the employee prevails and the commissioner thereafter in possession of the resulting award is unable after a reasonable search to locate the employee or to identify and locate the employee’s successor in interest, the commissioner shall, upon expiration of one year from the date of said award, deposit the funds from any such award, less costs and reasonable attorney’s fees where applicable, in the General Fund.