What are my rights if I have 3 months of unpaid wages?

I’m a production manager for a record label. I’m quitting because I have not been paid since almost 3 months. If my boss asks me to sign a termination letter at termination do I have to? Can he withhold pay if I don’t? I’m planning to go freelance so I don’t want any non-competition clause or else. Do I have to? Can he withhold my due?

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) You have to be paid for all work done--period. If you are not paid, you can sue your employer to recover it.

2) You do not have to sign a termination letter, severance or separation agreement, non-competition agreement, etc. upon termination or resignation, and the employer may not withhold pay you have already earned to make you do so. The employer is free to offer you something to make it  "worth your while" to sign--for example, the employer could offer you an extra few weeks of pay if you sign--but it would be up to you to accept that offer or not.


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