What to do if I’m trying to get my paycheck from my last employer and they refuse to give it to me?

They told me that I was in charge of a fire pump at the job site location. When I left the other day everything was locked up and that was my last day. So when the workers came in the next day to pump up the water system the pump was gone. I never signed anything saying that I was in charge of the pump. So now they don’t want to pay me unless they get the pump back.

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Texas has general payday laws which require an employer to pay an employee on their regular payday.  So, for example, if your regular payday is every Friday, then they are required to pay you on Friday.  This means if you paycheck is due, they are obligated to pay you.  In addition to this requirement, an employer cannot withhold funds except under two situations:  (1) by agreement with the employee and (2) by court order.  Court orders frequently occur in the form of child support withholding orders.  Agreements are usually in situations where an employee is purchasing something through the employer, like laundry service or health insurance.  If you did not sign something that authorized them to withhold your paycheck or make deductions from your paycheck for the pump, then your employer is in violation of the Texas payday laws.  There are a couple of things you can do.  One is to contact the Texas Workforce Commission and report the violation.  Another option is to hire an attorney to send a simple demand letter.  Many employers don’t realize they cannot garnish wages at will and usually loosen up the purse strings once they get the attorney letter that explains the law. 

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