My question involves employment and labor law for the state of: New Jersey
Hello everyone, hopefully someone can help me out a bit. I am 17 years old for the record. I lifeguarded at a Gold's Gym pool from December 2011 to January 2012 and was never paid for my work. After the first three weeks in December, it was winter break. I was told I have to work everyday that week (which included overtime) and at the end of the week I would be paid. I was never paid, and quit the following week. I started a wage claim with the department of labor the week after I quit. That took quite a bit of time to get started, but about a month ago I was told the investigation was over and they ruled in my favor.
However, they said they can only rule in my favor but not actually force them to give me the money. I am still in the middle of seeing whether they have sent the money or not (it has to go to the state to get taxes taken out, then it gets sent to me). I have to call someone in Trenton tomorrow to see if that process has started. Im assuming they didnt send the check which is why Im writing this to see what I should do next.
So, really, any advice will greatly help me. I really have no idea what to do next. Am I able to go to small claims court? Or would I go to civil court? Most importantly, would I need a lawyer? Also, any chance I could get more money than Im owed, if I asked? Apart from them not ever paying me despite Dept. of Labor ruling in my favor, Im almost positive they broke a few child labor laws. I never received a break the entire time I worked there. Generally I worked 7 hour shifts (3-10), but during winter break I worked 10 hour shifts and 12 hour shifts, which started at 5:30 in the morning. Also, this exact same thing happened to the previous lifeguard that worked before me. He only worked 1 or 2 weeks and I think he just quit and let it go. I worked about 100 hours or so, and they owe me $1000 so I dont want to let this go.
I was also talking to a friend who is in law school, he was saying its even possible to sue for punitive damages for like $50,000. I could end up suing the franchise of Gold's Gym or something. He also said that if I went that far with it, Gold's Gym might just get really good lawyers and draw it out for a long time and Ill wind up with nothing. Obviously, this is all a long shot, but is it at all possible?
Please, ANY advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. I just want to be finally done with this. Thank you