Can my employer legally keep my check

I was employed by someone in Peculiar, Mo who kept my paycheck because of a loan he gave me a couple of months ago. I was paying him $100 a week until the loan was repayed. Which he was fine with. I was recently offered a

higher paying job and accepted it. I gave him 2 weeks notice so he could find a replacement. I planned on continuing to pay him $100 a week until the loan was repaid. He kept my check because he said he didn’t trust I would pay him back. Can he legally do that?

Asked on August 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, he cannot, unless you and he had an agreement (e.g. something in a loan agreement) that if you left employment before he was paid in full, he could keep your check. The law is very clear that an employer may only withhold a employee check with employee consent. You could sue him (e.g. in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se" to save legal expenses) for the money. Bear in mind that if you do owe him a balance on the loan, he could either counterclaim in the lawsuit for the money or at least impose what you owe him as a "set-off" (a credit against) what he owes you for the paycheck. Example: say that you still owe him $1,000 and your paycheck was (gross) $750...if he asserts in the lawsuit the amount you owe him, you won't get anything back, since you owe him more than he owes you (and if he put in a formal counterclaim instead of just using the amount owed as set-off or defensively, he might get a judgement against you for the remaining $250). On the other hand, say you owe him $600 more and your check was $1,000; then you could get a judgment for $400, assuming he raises the loan balance owed him in the lawsuit. In cases like this, courts tend to "net out" what the two parties owe each other to come t a single sum.


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