Delay in receiving last paycheck

I gave my notice to my previous employer that I will be resigning. I worked in a remote customer service relation position for an insurance company in New Jersey. I returned all work materials as required submitted my exit interview. Upon providing my resignation, I was advised that my last paycheck would be mailed to me. We are paid on Thursdays. When I worked in the office I was always provided with my check on Thursdays before my direct deposit went through. When my pay stubs were mailed to me while I was working remotely I always received them on Fridays with no issues. However, I wasn’t comfortable with a live check being in the mail. On the Monday of the payweek, I asked if it would be possible to come to the office to pick up my last check as I wasn’t comfortable with a live check in the mail. I never received a response. On the Wednesday before the pay day, I sent a follow up email to verify if it would be ok to come on Thursday to pick up the check. I received an email back that the paycheck has already been mailed I will be receiving it by the end of the week. Thursday came, Friday came, Saturday came and I never received the paycheck in the mail. I contacted the office on Saturday and was advised that my paycheck is in the mail that I would be receiving it the following Monday or Tuesday. On Monday I still hadn’t received the paycheck now the mail. Monday afternoon I requested that a new check be issued to me that I pick up the check. My request was eventually honored and I was issued a new check to pick up on the Wednesday. It is now a week later the check that was apparently mailed to me still has not arrived. My issue is that I make very little money live paycheck to paycheck. I relied on what my previous employer told me when they advised that I would be receiving my pay by the end of the week. As a result of not receiving my paycheck in a timely manner, I had no money in my bank account to cover the automated payments that were scheduled to come out. As a result, my bank account went into the negative and my bank has now charged me $105 in fees. Would I be able to request that my previous employer reimburse me these fees? I have already contacted the bank and explained to them what happened, however they would not remove the fees.

Asked on October 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can "request"--anyone can always ask--but if they do not voluntarily choose to cover those fees, you are very unlikely to be able to force them to do (i.e. if you sued for the money, you'd almost certainly lose):
1) The employer is not responsible for you living paycheck-to-paycheck: they are not the reason you have not saved money, do not have a reserve or balance in the bank, etc. They are not liable for a loss which is not due to their actions but rather has a supervening or intermediate cause: you not having a reserve.
2) If they mailed the check on time and it went missing in the mail, that would provide a second or additional reason they are not resonsible: they are not liable for what the post office fails to do.

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