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44-322. Enforcement; hearings; powers of secretary; contempt. (a) The secretary shall enforce and administer the provisions of this act and the secretary or authorized representatives of the secretary are empowered to hold hearings and otherwise to investigate violations or alleged violations of this act.

(b) The secretary or authorized representatives of the secretary are empowered to enter such places, question such employees and investigate such facts, conditions or matters as they may deem appropriate to determine whether any person has violated any provision of this act or any rule or regulation issued hereunder or which may aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this act.

(c) The secretary or authorized representatives of the secretary shall have the power to administer oaths and examine witnesses under oath or otherwise, issue compulsory process to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of papers, books, accounts, records, payrolls, documents and testimony relating to claims for unpaid wages, and to take depositions and affidavits in the administration of this act.

(d) In case of failure of any person to comply with any compulsory process lawfully issued, the secretary may apply to the judge of the district court for citation in contempt and such judge may punish for contempt, as in other cases of refusal to obey the orders and processes of the court.

History: L. 1973, ch. 204, § 10; L. 1976, ch. 370, § 6; July 1.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Obstacles to Wage Claim Recovery," Corlin J. Pratt, XIV J.K.T.L.A. No. 1, 20 (1990).


1. Reviewing court has power to determine whether secretary has jurisdiction even if issue not raised at hearing. Micheaux v. Amalgamated Meatcutters & Butcher Workmen, 231 Kan. 791, 795, 648 P.2d 722 (1982).

2. Sums withheld from amounts due as bonuses actually wages under particular circumstances. Yuille v. Pester Marketing Co., 9 Kan. App. 2d 464, 467, 682 P.2d 676 (1984).

3. Claim for back wages may be initiated with either secretary of human resources or district court. Spor v. Presta Oil Co., 14 Kan. App. 2d 696, 697, 798 P.2d 68 (1990).

4. Cited; whether KDHR letter stating individual was employee for KWPA (K.S.A. 44-301 et seq.) purposes was official opinion examined. Herr v. McCormick Grain-The Heiman Company, Inc., 841 F. Supp. 1500, 1514 (1993).

5. Illegal alien's employment contract is enforceable under Kansas Wage Payment Act, act not preempted by federal law. Coma Corporation v. Kansas Dept. of Labor, 283 Kan. 625, 635, 645, 154 P.3d 1080 (2007).

6. Cause of action for retaliatory discharge exists based on a wage claim under the KWPA. Campbell v. Husky Hogs, 292 Kan. 225, 255 P.3d 1 (2011).

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