Is demanding payment before turning over company documents legal?

I recently did some work in a foreign country and the company is refusing to pay me. I am in possession of some documents that they need. Is asking for my compensation in exchange for the documents extortion? Is it a lien? Is it legal?

Asked on July 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you are an independent contractor for the company that you did work for then there is nothing illegal for you to hold back the work you did in exchange for the earned compensation you are due.

If you are an employee, you are required to give your employer the product you created and if you do not get, then you have a valid grievance with your state's department of labor against you employer.

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