Can my work keep my last check from me cause they think I stole stuff out of purse dat was turned in

A purse was turned into me at work
me an a co-worker opened it to see
who’s it was it was empty so by da
end of day no one claimed the
purse so I took it home an now the
owner of purse is saying she had
money keys an ID in it an there
wasn’t so how can they keep my
check to pay dat lady for the
stuff dat she says was in it

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only time that a paycheck can be withheld from an employee under these circumstances is if they had experessly agreed to this in writing. Otherwise, an employer cannot withhold an employee's wages. It is illegal to do so. At this point, you can file a claim with your state's departyment of labor and/or contact an attorney. That having been said, the owner of the purse could pursue an action against you but she would need to offer proof that you stole the items in question.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they can't do this: even if you had taken something from a co-worker or from the employer itself, an employer may not withhold your last paychceck to compensate for that; doing so is a violation of the labor laws, which require that employees be paid for all work done, and you could contact the state labor department to file a complaint. 
The purse's owner has the right to sue you if she feels you stole from her; IF she can prove in court (not just suspect or imply, but prove with evidence) that you did steal, she can a money judgment (court order requiring you to pay money) requiring you to repay. That is how she can try to recover money from you.

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