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Farm Workers: If the employer does not pay you, you may file a lien on the crop or orchard you worked.

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
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Filing a crop or orchard lien is often the best way to get paid if your employer does not pay you. #2915EN

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If your employer does not pay you for work in agriculture, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. 

Even if your employer promises to pay you, you should still talk to a lawyer right away.

If you do not get paid, you may file a lien within 40 days of your last day of work.

Filing a crop or orchard lien is often the best way to get paid if your employer does not pay you.

To learn more and talk to a lawyer:

Northwest Justice Project
Farmworkers cell phone: 1-509-225-0026
Wenatchee: 1-888-201-1021
Yakima: 1-888-201-1018
CLEAR: 1-888-201-1014

Columbia Legal Services
Wenatchee: 1-800-572-9615
Yakima: 1-800-631-1323
Kennewick: 1-888-201-9735

Crop Liens and Orchard Liens

In Washington State, workers who plant, spray, weed, pick or otherwise work on crops may file a "crop lien" on their employer's crop if the employer does not pay them.

If you properly file the lien within 40 days of your last working day, the business that buys the crops from your employer may have to pay your unpaid wages before they pay your employer who is selling the crops.

If you worked in an orchard (pruning, spraying, cultivating) and your employer does not pay you, you may file an "orchard lien" within the last 40 days of your last day of work. 

Filing a lien may be complicated. Talk to a lawyer if you have not been paid. Call the numbers above.

Your former employer may pay you after you file the lien. If your employer pays you after you file the lien, you should remove the lien.

Your employer may not pay you even after you file the lien. If that is the case, you may be able to sue the employer in court for your wages. Suing in court can be complicated. Talk to a lawyer if you have not been paid!

Last Review and Update: Feb 06, 2020
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