The seller frequently takes the rights of the consumer for granted. The buyer frequently feels unmotivated even to be aware of their rights. People do not complain if they are taken advantage of with lousy pricing, product, or service because they are still trying to understand the idea of going to court or filing an FIR. Contrary to what individuals may believe, submitting a complaint on a consumer right is simple. All you need to do is go to consumerhelpline.gov.in.
Few dishonest bosses and businesses defraud their employees of their hard-earned money in India since there is a low level of legal awareness in the country. Instead of feeling exploited in such a circumstance, the employee may send a legal notice for non-payment of salary. This article describes giving employers legal notice for failure to pay wages in India and possible actions.
In this article, we will take you through the process of filing a complaint as a consumer, followed by the rights and steps to be taken to sue a company as an employee.
Steps to lodge Consumer Complaint
Step 1: The first step is to visit the consumer helpline's official website at https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/.
Step 2: Call the toll-free number on the homepage, 1800114000 or 14404.
Step 3: Dial the number and speak with the officer in charge directly about the problem.
Step 4: Register the complaint and retain the complaint number for future use.
Step 5: A message or email outlining the problem will be sent.
Step 6: Acknowledge the email and provide the recipient's address and a detailed description of what specifically disturbed their services. Except on national holidays, the phone lines are open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Alternative ways to file a complaint
- SMS at 8130009809
- Go to https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/user/signup.php to create an account.
- Additionally, at https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/apps/consumerapp, you can submit your complaint through the Consumer App.
Who are the consumers?
Consumer pays money to buy something or use a service for personal consumption or to support themselves through self-employment. Considerations could include the following:
- Partially promised and partially paid.
- It also covers a recipient of such products or services when such individuals authorize use.
A customer may file a complaint under the breach of the following rights
The following six consumer rights are protected under the Consumer Protection Act:
The Right to Safety
The Right to be protected from promoting products and services that endanger life and property.
Right to information
The Right to information regarding the price, standard, potency, amount, purity, quality, and other factors of the goods or services, as applicable, safeguards the customer against dishonest business practices.
The Right to Choose
The Right to access a range of products and services at reasonable costs, wherever practicable.
The Right to be heard
The Right to be heard and the assurance that their interests would be adequately considered in relevant forums.
The Right to file a complaint about unethical business practices, restrictive business policies, or nefarious consumer exploitation.
The Right to Consumer Education
The Right to learn the skills necessary to make educated decisions as a consumer throughout one's life.
Non-payment of salaries is a widespread practice in India for companies to their employees, which is especially popular when firing employees. This is because relatively few employees know their rights under the Indian Constitution and regulations. Employers believe that employees need more legal knowledge and resources to bring a claim against the company. An employee can do a variety of tasks. Multiple legal options exist to recover overdue compensation and interest to protect employee rights. This part of the article explains the methods an employee can use to recover an employer's unpaid wages and the necessary actions.
Acts that govern the salary payment by organizations
Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act
According to Section 21 of the Act, the contractor pays the wages to each employee he hires as contract labour, and those payments must be paid before the end of any applicable period.
Suppose the contractor needs to pay the required wages within the allotted time. In that case, the principal employer will be responsible for paying the total amount of wages owed to the contract labour that the contractor employed and recovering the amount so paid from the contractor either through a deduction from any outstanding invoices to the contractor under any contracts or as a debt owed by the contractor.
Shops and Establishment Act, 1953
Many states have laws dictating how different businesses and establishments must operate within their borders. Under the Model Act's provisions, "Where any worker is required to work on any day over nine hours and forty-eight hours in a week, he shall be entitled to wages at the rate of twice his ordinary rate of wages or a such higher amount as may be prescribed."
A punishment of up to Rs. 2 Lakhs may be imposed on the employer for any violations of the Act's provisions or any rules issued by the State Government, including failure to pay wages. An extra fine may also be imposed.
The two main pieces of legislation that govern and regulate wages given by the employer to the employee are the Minimum Wages Act of 1948 and the Payment of Wages Act of 1936. The former Act aims to establish a minimum wage that all workers must receive. According to the job's nature listed in the Schedule of the Act, the amount of remuneration is decided. There is a different minimum wage for each state.
- Conversely, the Payment of Salary Act of 1936 ensures that the employee or workman will receive their wages on time.
- As a result, the relevant Government is given the authority to designate the following groups of officials to handle disputes resulting from salary deductions or payment delays:
- Workmen's compensation commissioner
- Labor commissioner for the region.
- Officer of the State Government has a minimum of two years experience which is not below the rank of regional labour commissioner.
- The judge presiding over a labour dispute or labour court.
- Other officials with a prior judicial magistrate or civil judge experience.
Industrial Disputes Act
The Act's Section 33C addresses the recovery of money owed to the employee. This clause states that any employee, anybody authorized by the employee, or the legal heir in the case of a deceased employee, may submit a request for salary payment to the relevant authorities. The competent Government issues a certificate for payment of dues once it is satisfied that the money is indeed owed. However, the Labor Court will decide if it is necessary to calculate the amount of money.
Documents needed to send the legal notice include the following:
- Copy of the employment agreement.
- A copy of a bank statement is used as proof that the salary was not paid.
- Appointment letter.
- Details of all extra perks and bonuses.
What actions can employees use to reclaim unpaid wages?
Following the delivery of a legal notice to the employer, the employee may pursue the following actions if the employer does not reply and does not pay the salary:
Approach the Labor Commissioner
The employee can speak with the labour commissioner and explain the situation. The complaint submitted to the labour commissioner should be accompanied by copies of the legal notice provided to the employer, the employment contract, and a bank statement. The labour commissioner's responsibility is to settle disputes between employers and employees.
Approach the Labor Court
The employee may go to the labour court if the commissioner cannot resolve the issue. According to the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, this lawsuit may be brought. However, this lawsuit must be filed within a year before the compensation becomes due. The Labor Court must decide the case within three months.
The Labor Court sets a deadline that must be met without exception. When the Presiding Officer of the specific Labor Court determines that it is appropriate or essential to do so, the period is around three months. The Presiding Officer has the authority to extend the time limit for specific justifications in writing if necessary. The Labor Court will also investigate whether the employer has received legal notice that the provident fund is overdue.
Approach the Civil Court
According to the Civil Procedure Code of 1908, employees in executive or managerial positions may launch a lawsuit for non-payment of wages in a civil court. However, it is emphasized that this should not be the employee's first choice of solution.
Application in the NCLT
According to the 2016 Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, employees are regarded as operational creditors. Therefore, a request for the recovery of the underpaid salary may be made to the NCLT. However, a specific prerequisite must be met for applying to the IBC. Which are:
- The applicant must be a firm employee.
- The underpaid salary must be at least Rs. 1 lakh.
- One crore rupees is the maximum amount of overdue salary.
The NCLT must decide whether to approve or reject this application within 14 days. Within 180 days, the entire corporate insolvency resolution process must be completed. The NCLT, however, has the option to add another 90 days to this.
The employer and the management of the business where the employee was employed must take legal notice to an employer for non-payment of wages seriously. The manager, the person in control of the location, or the directors of the business where the employee was employed may get notice of the due amount. Legal notice to a business may also be used as proof in court. A court will rule in favour of the employee due to the legal warning submitted to the business.
Attorney costs for legal notice for payment collection may differ from one attorney to the next. As a result, the worker may issue a legal notice to seek payment.