My last employer refuses to pay me because I quit. What can I do?

I worked for eleven hours and ended quiting after that day. When I went
to collect my check the owner refused to pay me stating that she had to
come in and work because I quit.

Asked on May 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only practical way to resolve this and seek compensation would be to sue her, such as in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se"), so you don't have legal fees: a lawsuit is how you get money from someone who owes you and will not pay. To win, you'd need to prove the terms of employment (what she was supposed to pay you), the number of hours you worked, and that you did in fact work; you can do this with credible (or believable) testimony (such as your own), emails, text messages, etc. If you can convince a court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is more likely than not) that you did the work, she will have to pay you--you quitting, or her having to come in and work because you quit, is not a legal justification for not paying you. 
Of course, even if you sue pro se, you'll have to pay the filing fee for the case, which is generally around $50 or so for small claims court, and assume you'll give up a day of your time in court; if the amount of pay is not worth the filing fee and the time, then you may wish to just let this go.

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