Can a company not pay you if you worked?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a company not pay you if you worked?

I worked an event over the summer for this company and they released me for slow foot traffic. When I sent my timesheet they said that I was going to be fined $40 for not working the way I was supposed to, but I was never told that the day of. I agreed to get paid the rest but they never paid me anything. I have tried to contact them left and right without any success for over 5 months. Now, they sent me an e-mail threatening that they will file a claim with the local police. Is this even legal?

Asked on January 30, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you worked, they have to pay you per the agreement. If they let you go early--and had the right to do so; i.e. there was contract guaranteeing you a certain amount of pay or hours worked--then they only have to pay you for the time you worked; but they *must* pay you for that.

2) The only exception to (1) would be if you simply did not do what you were hired to do--were inattentive, made major mistakes, didn't do what you were asked, etc. If you failed to do what you were hired to, then the may have a defense to paying you; but you could still sue if you think you are owed the money, at which point they could raise the defense (or bring a complaint with the dept. of labor).

As a general matter, if you were an employee--even a temporary one--and were not paid, your two options are (i) file a complaint with the state or federal dept. of labor and see if they will help you (they are overworked; for a minor matter, they not have the resources or time); or sue. There's no other way to be paid.

3) What claim would they file with the local police? There is no law against attempting to be paid money due you, as long as the claim is being brought in good faith (e.g. you legitimately believe and have evidence that you are owed the money). Even if you were to ultimately lose a court case, that doesn't mean the attempt was in bad faith. Only if you were attempting to defraud the company or collect a debt that doesn't exist would you be doing something criminal.

That said, depending on how much you are owed, you may wish to consider whether it is worth the effort and potential cost (e.g. of a lawyer) of trying to collect.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not.  If you worked for a company then you should be paid for your time and the agreed upon wages.  Do you have any proof of your working for them at all?  What about when they sad that they would fine you?  Was it in writing in any way, even an e-mail?  You could sue them in small claims court and if you have witnesses or any other type of proof, bring it with you.  I would also file a complaint with the Department of Labor and the Attorney General's Office in your state.  Start making some noise about the matter and I bet your paycheck will show up.  Good luck to you. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption