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44-322a. Enforcement; hearing; action of secretary; judicial review. (a) Whenever a claim for unpaid wages under K.S.A. 44-313 through 44-326, and amendments thereto, is filed with the secretary of labor, the secretary or the secretary's authorized representative shall investigate the claim as provided in K.S.A. 44-322, and amendments thereto, to determine if a dispute exists between the parties to the claim. If the secretary or the secretary's authorized representative determines that a dispute does exist and that the parties are unable to resolve their differences, the secretary or a presiding officer from the office of administrative hearings shall establish a time and place for a hearing on the matter. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Kansas administrative procedure act.

(b) Upon the completion of the hearing, the presiding officer shall determine whether the claim for unpaid wages is a valid claim under K.S.A. 44-313 through 44-326, and amendments thereto. If the presiding officer determines the claim for unpaid wages is valid, the amount of unpaid wages owed together with any damages which may be assessed under K.S.A. 44-315, and amendments thereto, if applicable, also shall be determined by the presiding officer. If the presiding officer determines the claim for unpaid wages is valid, the presiding officer shall order that the unpaid wages and any applicable damages be paid by the party responsible for their payment. Any initial order under this section shall be reviewed by the secretary in accordance with K.S.A. 77-527, and amendments thereto. The decision of the secretary shall be final and the amount of any unpaid wages and applicable damages determined by the secretary to be valid shall be due and payable unless judicial review is sought within the time allowed by law.

(c) Any agency action under this section is subject to review in accordance with the Kansas judicial review act.

History: L. 1977, ch. 173, § 2; L. 1983, ch. 165, § 1; L. 1986, ch. 318, § 53; L. 1988, ch. 356, § 138; L. 2004, ch. 179, § 5; L. 2008, ch. 150, § 4; L. 2010, ch. 17, § 71; July 1.

Revisor's Note:

Section was also amended by L. 2004, ch. 145, § 14, but that version was repealed by L. 2008, ch. 150, § 9.

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. Phrase "earned time" in employment contract does not constitute "wages" as defined in K.S.A. 44-313(c). Richardson v. St. Mary Hospital, 6 Kan. App. 2d 238, 243, 627 P.2d 1143.

2. Secretary of Human Resources has no authority hereunder to investigate and adjudicate prevailing wage claims under K.S.A. 44-201. R. D. Andersen Constr. Co. v. Kansas Dept. of Human Resources, 7 Kan. App. 2d 453, 454, 455, 457, 458, 459, 643 P.2d 1142 (1982).

3. Absent express statutory authority, administrative agency cannot award compensatory or punitive damages. Woods v. Midwest Conveyor Co., 231 Kan. 763, 775, 648 P.2d 234 (1982).

4. 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, 793, 795, 648 P.2d 722 (1982).

5. Review upon record under subsection (e) is not de novo review of evidence. Weinzirl v. The Wells Group, Inc., 234 Kan. 1016, 1018, 677 P.2d 1004 (1984).

6. 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).

7. 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).

8. 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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