Previously I discussed Bernstein v. Bribriesco & Associates, a case regarding the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act that was pending before the Iowa Court of Appeals. I had the opportunity to listen to the oral arguments, but was not privy to all the facts. The case has been decided.
I suggested that Bernstein should be entitled to liquidated damages despite the fact that Bribriesco has paid all wages prior to Bernstein filing suit. The Iowa Court of Appeals, apparently did not agree with my reasoning or Bernstein’s reasoning. Rather, the Court held that liquidated damages are not available under chapter 91A in the absence of some unpaid wages.
Take away: Although I would never advise any of my clients to do this, the Court of Appeals seems to be giving its blessing for employers to hold an employee’s paycheck until just before the employee files an action. However, the employer better be good at guessing when the employee will file his action.