Friday, July 28, 2006

Treble damages under Payment of Wages Act is discretionary according to S.C. Court of Appeals

The South Carolina Payment of Wages Act, in pertinent part, provides that "In case of any failure to pay wages due to an employee as required by Section 41-10-40 or 41-10-50 the employee may recover in a civil action an amount equal to three times the full amount of the unpaid wages, plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees as the court may allow. " In Temple v. Tec-Fab, the trial judge ruled that this provision requires a judge to treble damages when the employer violates the Act. The Court of Appeals disagreed.

The Court of Appeals held the decision to treble damages is within the trial court's discretion and imposition of treble damages in those cases where there is a bona fide dispute would be unjust and harsh.

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