Can a employer withhold a final paycheck?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a employer withhold a final paycheck?

I resigned from my employer today without notice. While there, I was required to get a couple of licenses on their dime. I could not do my job without those licenses. They’re now saying that I owe them for the education.

Asked on January 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) You only have to repay them for the licenses IF you had entered into an agreement with them before they paid for the licenses that you would repay under certain circumstances, and those circumstances apply or have occured. With such an agreement, you must repay; without such an agreement, you have no obligation to do so.
2) Even if you had agreed to repay them the license cost, the law is very clear that an employee's paycheck may not be withheld--even when they owe their employer money--without either employee consent (that is, if you agree to let them have part or all of your check) or a court order (e.g. court-ordered wage garnishment). Therefore, if you don't agree to let them have or hold your check, they have to give it to you; and if they don't, you could sue them for the money, such as in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se."

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 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.

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