How long can my employer withhold my check?

I still have not gotten it and it’s almost the next pay period. This is causing me being not able to pay my bills on time and emotional distress.

Asked on September 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The employer has no right to withhold your check, not for any period of time. The problem for you is, the police will not help, since this is not a criminal matter. To get the money, you can contact the state department of labor, and see if they will help if the do not, then you'd have to sue such as in small claims court, where you can act as your own attorney, or "pro se," to save on legal fees also, small claims cases tend to move faster than cases in other courts for the money. In such a suit, you can claim for economic losses caused by the improper withholding, such as the interest on any loans you had to take out to cover expenses, or any late fees or bounced check fees you paid, etc. However, you cannot recover for emotional distress in a case like this, so your "damages," or compensation, is limited to the amount of the check plus the provable direct economic losses, if any, you incurred.

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