Nebraska Revised Statute 48-1231
Employee; claim for wages; suit; judgment; costs and attorney's fees; failure to furnish wage statement; penalty.
(1) An employee having a claim for wages which are not paid within thirty days of the regular payday designated or agreed upon may institute suit for such unpaid wages in the proper court. If an employee establishes a claim and secures judgment on the claim, such employee shall be entitled to recover (a) the full amount of the judgment and all costs of such suit and (b) if such employee has employed an attorney in the case, an amount for attorney's fees assessed by the court, which fees shall not be less than twenty-five percent of the unpaid wages. If the cause is taken to an appellate court and the plaintiff recovers a judgment, the appellate court shall tax as costs in the action, to be paid to the plaintiff, an additional amount for attorney's fees in such appellate court, which fees shall not be less than twenty-five percent of the unpaid wages. If the employee fails to recover a judgment in excess of the amount that may have been tendered within thirty days of the regular payday by an employer, such employee shall not recover the attorney's fees provided by this section. If the court finds that no reasonable dispute existed as to the fact that wages were owed or as to the amount of such wages, the court may order the employee to pay the employer's attorney's fees and costs of the action as assessed by the court.
(2) An employer who fails to furnish a wage statement under subsection (2) of section 48-1230 shall be guilty of an infraction as defined in section 29-431 and shall be subject to a fine pursuant to section 29-436.
An employee was not entitled to relief under this section when the employer had never provided the employee with compensation and there was no provision in an employment agreement providing for compensation or a regular date of payment. Mays v. Midnite Dreams, 300 Neb. 485, 915 N.W.2d 71 (2018).
A court has discretion to award attorney fees higher than the statutory minimum required under this section, and an award of fees above the statutory minimum does not depend upon the presence of employer's unreasonable defenses or vexatious counterclaims. Fisher v. PayFlex Systems USA, 285 Neb. 808, 829 N.W.2d 703 (2013).
An appellate court reviews a lower court's award of attorney fees under this section for an abuse of discretion. Fisher v. PayFlex Systems USA, 285 Neb. 808, 829 N.W.2d 703 (2013).
A party has no viable claim to a wage that has not yet been received. Law Offices of Ronald J. Palagi v. Howard, 275 Neb. 334, 747 N.W.2d 1 (2008).
In a wage claim brought under section 15-841 against a city of the primary class, there is nothing in the plain language of this section that requires an employee to plead a specific cause of action for attorney fees or to file a separate proceeding for attorney fees in order to receive an award of attorney fees under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act. Rauscher v. City of Lincoln, 269 Neb. 267, 691 N.W.2d 844 (2005).
The Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act does not represent a very clear mandate of public policy which would warrant recognition of an exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. Malone v. American Bus. Info., 262 Neb. 733, 634 N.W.2d 788 (2001).
Employers will not be awarded attorney fees under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collection Act if the employer has not tendered an amount to the employee within 30 days of the employee's regular payday. Brockley v. Lozier Corp., 241 Neb. 449, 488 N.W.2d 556 (1992).
Unpaid wages means wages which are not paid within 30 days of the regular payday designated or agreed upon. Polly v. Ray D. Hilderman & Co., 225 Neb. 662, 407 N.W.2d 751 (1987).