What can I do if my ex-employer is refusing to release my final 2 paychecks?

I should received my check on the next regular payday. Since it’s been 2 weeks, can I sue them? And, if so, what for exactly?

Asked on July 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF you don't get the paychecks, you can sue to recover the money they owe you--i.e. the amount of the paychecks--plus any additional non-legal/lawyer-fee costs you incur, such as if you bounced any checks due to not being paid and incurred overdraft charges. If you are paid, even if late, however, all you could recover was what out-of-pocket costs or charges you incurred, like overdraft fees. Since lawsuits have their costs, in terms of time and money (though the monetary cost is low, if you file in small claims court and act as your own lawyer, or "pro se"), you may wish to wait until the next regular payday, see if you are paid, and, if not, then sue to get the money. Filing the suit may even "encourage" your ex-employer to release the funds.

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