The value of hourly payment that you have mentioned is in $. Therefore, it appears that you are working in ITES sector.
Notwithstanding the hype and glare of this sector, occasionally skeletons tumble out from the closet. In a span of two months, I am seeing this second instance. Earlier we have seen similar problem in https://www.citehr.com/462481-manage...ml#post2062410 .
Have you spoken to your HR department or Head HR? Ask for the appointment of Head HR and tell him/her your problem. Wait for a week.
Now coming to your query. Before, sending lawyer's notice, I recommend you doing two things. One is to ask for the appointment of MD and explain to him in person that your rightful wages are withheld. If you are unable to get the appointment of MD then send him the letter by RPAD (not by courier). Make a fresh file. Preserve all the printouts of your communication and the receipt of register letter to MD.
If nothing happens after sending letter to MD as well then find out who is labour officer of your area. Go and give application to the labour officer with photocopies of all the printouts. Find out whether he is able to solve your problem.
Going through the proper channel i,e. labour officer is important and will make your case stronger. It can become evidence in labour court showing that you had approached the machinery instituted by the government to redress your grievance.
If the verdict given by labour officer is against the company and if your company still remains adamant then you give a lawyer's notice. Thereafter, as such lawyer will guide you. However, I doubt whether your company will nerve nerve to go against what labour officer says.
While giving advice, let me caution you also. By approaching labour officer or by sending lawyer's notice, you could be rubbing your management in a wrong way. They may start harassing you in different way. The situation may bring you to wits end. Are you prepared for all that?
Please come back after 3-4 months and confirm how did you handle the problem to get your rightful dues.
Learning for HR from the incident: - These are as below:
a) Nothing is sickening to note that employee is not being paid for her rightful wages. This goes on to show to the disconnect between HR and the employee. That the poster of the post felt easiness to seek advice from this forum rather than approaching HR speaks volumes. HR should constantly be in touch with the employees. "Emotional Intelligence", "Employee Engagement" where all this jargon goes while handling these issues? Possibly the HR Head could be too busy in delivering homilies in B-schools or some forum that he/she does not know what's happening right under his/her nose!
b) When HR is impervious or ensconced in their own world, these things happen. They can afford to remain impervious because there is no labour union in this sector. Fear of the union is important to keep the HR on track. Instances like these are grist to union's mill. When an employee with this kind of problem approaches union office, a 'friendly" call from the them solves the worker's problems. But then finally disconnect between workers and HR was a challenge and is a challenge even today also.
Dinesh V Divekar
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
23rd August 2013 From India, Bangalore
In that case the things are quite simpler. You can give notice from lawyer for non-payment. If the payment is made well and good else you can file a suit.
Under such circumstances also I recommend you checking with lawyer whether to take appointment of MD and request him to clear your dues immediately. However, you should be in position to keep evidence of your meeting. This will come handy if you were to file suit.
All the best!
Dinesh V Divekar
24th August 2013 From India, Bangalore