Can my employer hold my final paycheck?

I worked as a telecommuter for a company based in NY I live in NC. I was terminated as of 10/13/2017 for failure to relocate. I do have a company computer that they are asking to be returned no issues there other than I have to pay to have it shipped instead of them just giving me a shipping label to print. My question is they stated that they will not release my final paycheck due to be direct deposited this Friday, 10/20/2017 until they receive the computer back. Can they do this? I am afraid they will just say they haven’t received it and never give me my final paycheck they are shady like that.

Asked on October 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, they may NOT do this. The law is very clear that an employer may never withhold employee pay without employee consent/agreement or without a court (or IRS) order (such as for wage garnishment). Otherwise, it does not matter if you owe the employer a computer or anything else; they still have to pay you, and if they don't you may sue them (e.g. in small claims court) for the money. Their recourse against you, by the way, in case you do not return the computer would be to sue you for the value of it.

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