Can my employer withhold my final paycheck?

According to state law, an employer must immediately issue a final paycheck to a terminated employee or within 6 hours of the beginning of the next business day if the payroll office is closed. Additionally, if the payroll office is offsite, then the employer must issue the final paycheck to the terminated employee within 24 hours of his or her termination. An employee who quits his or her job is not entitled to a final paycheck until the next regularly scheduled pay date. My formal employer states that someone saw me drinking on the job. Even if this were true, what rights do they have to continue to hold my paycheck? I was terminated 3 days ago and today is the normal payday but they are still refusing to pay me.

Asked on November 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that there are are no circumstances under which an employer can totally withhold an employee's final paycheck. As a general rule, employers are typically required to issue a final paycheck containing compensation for all earned and unpaid wages.

If the event that an employee is unable to obtain their final paycheck from their ex-employer, the employee can file a complaint with the Department of Labor & Employment, Division of Labor or they can sue the employer.  


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