Is it legal for my ex-employer to keep me listed as an employee until I pay back $45 that I owe them?

I owe my ex-employer $45. Even though I quit the job 2 months ago, the company refuses to take me out of their system until I pay them back what I owe. Unfortunately I’m currently unemployed so I have no income to pay the debt and I’m ineligible for foodstamps due to the

fact that I’m technically still employed. I have been civil, attempted to discuss this matter with them in a mature way but they will not budge. Is it legal for them to keep me listed as an employee until I pay the money back? Is there anything I can do about this or am I at their mercy until this debt is paid?

Asked on May 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal for them to do this.
1) Apply for foodstamps and tell the agency what is going on: that you quit 2 months ago but they are keeping you listed as an employee to deny you benefits and retaliate against you. If your initial application doesn't work, you can appeal internal within the uagency and then, if necessary, to a court.
2) You may be able to sue your employer for tortious (or wrongful) interference with economic benefit, or your right to foodstamps. Try telling them you will sue them if the don't correct this; then, if they don't fix things, go ahead and sue. (You can sue in small claims court, on a "pro se" basis, or as your own attorney; when you file, you can apply for the right to sue without having to pay the filing fee, due to poverty). You could sue for all the benefits you should have received to date, but did not.

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