Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 1037

January Session, 2015

 

LCO No. 4267

 

*04267_______LAB*

Referred to Committee on LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

 

Introduced by:

 

(LAB)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING EMPLOYEE LIENS AGAINST EMPLOYERS FOR UNPAID WAGES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2015) (a) Whenever an employee is aggrieved by an employer's failure to pay wages in violation of section 31-68 or 31-72 of the general statutes, the Labor Commissioner shall have a lien on any property, real or personal, in which such employer has an interest to enforce payment of twice the full amount of such wages with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees that may be allowed by the court pursuant to said sections.

(b) To establish a lien for unpaid wages under this section, an employee shall serve notice of such lien by certified mail to the employer that failed to pay such wages. Such notice of lien shall contain such information as will identify (1) the owner of the property upon which the lien is claimed, (2) the residence or business address of such owner, (3) the specific property claimed to be subject to such lien, (4) the location of such property, (5) the amount of wages and accrued penalties and interest, including reasonable attorney's fees, claimed to be due the employee in relation to the lien, and (6) the tax period or periods for which such lien is claimed. Such lien shall be filed not later than three years after the final pay period in which such wages were due and shall be perfected automatically upon the date that such an employee's wages become due.

(c) An employer may dispute such lien by filing a complaint in small claims court or the Superior Court where the employer's property is located not later than thirty days after notice was served on the employer. A complaint under this section shall include (1) a copy of the notice served pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and (2) a statement of any defense to the lien for unpaid wages with an affidavit containing a statement of facts that support such defense. Not later than forty-five days after receiving such complaint, the court shall determine whether to issue an order establishing such lien and shall provide written notification to the employer and employee of such determination. On request of the employer or employee, the court may hold an evidentiary hearing prior to making such determination.

(d) Such lien is established after the court provides written notification to the employer and employee of such determination, provided such employer does not file an appeal of such determination within thirty days after receiving such determination. Such lien shall be effective for a period of ten years from the date of filing unless discharged as hereinafter provided.

(e) An action to recover unpaid wages by the employee or the Labor Commissioner shall be deemed an action to foreclose upon any property subject to a lien established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. In any judgment resulting from such action, the commissioner may order the sale or the transfer to the employee of title or possession of any property subject to such lien. Any property subject to such lien may be foreclosed upon at any point after a judgment for unpaid wages is issued.

(f) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, a lien under this section has priority over the rights of any purchaser of any property of the employer, including any bona fide purchaser under 11 USC 545(2) and over all other debts, judgments, decrees, liens, mortgages against the employer, including a lien by a commercial lending company, regardless of whether these debts, judgments, decrees, liens or mortgages originate before or after the wage lien, and regardless of whether these debts, judgments, decrees, liens or mortgages were perfected prior to the wage lien. An employee's lien is effective against the employer and the estate of the employer.

(g) A wage lien against real property may be recorded with the town clerk for the town in which any portion of the property is located. A wage lien against personal property may be recorded in the same manner a financing statement is filed with the Secretary of the State.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an employee from exercising any right or seeking any remedy to which he or she may otherwise be entitled under any state or federal law.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2015

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To enable the Labor Commissioner or an employee to place a lien on an employer's property, real or personal, in which such employer has an interest to enforce payment of wages owed to an employee under chapter 558.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]