What can I do if my former employer will not pay me?

I performed work 2 nights for a restaurant as a waiter and was being trained by the owner. His treatment of me was horrendous and so I sent him a text on the third day saying I would not return. When I went to pick up my pay he told me that there was a charge on an American Express card that he had told me he did not accept, but his machine gave an approval number for. Because of this, he refused to pay me for the 11 hours of work and told me that I owe him $60. Is this legal? His credit card machine authorized the card and he says he does not want to open an AM EX account to get paid.

Asked on September 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1 He must pay you for all work you did--that is the law. Even if he thinks you owe him money for some other reason, he still must pay you, and you may sue him e.g. in small claims court, acting as your own attorney if he does not.
2 If he believes that you cost him money, either intentionally or negligently carelessly e.g. misapproving a charge, then he has the right to sue you for the money, or, if you sue him for your pay, to interpose his own claim as a counterclaim against you in court. So you could end up winning 11 hours pay from him, offset by the $60 if he proves to the court you did something wrong there.

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