Can an employer manually change a check stub and just pay you whatever they want?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer manually change a check stub and just pay you whatever they want?

My former employer issued a check stub, but before she wrote the check
to pay us, she manually changed the amount and just paid us for what she
wanted instead of what we worked. Is this legal?

Asked on October 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When you work, you work pursuant or according to an agreement under which you agree to perform work in exchange for a certain hourly wage or salary. If you do the work, you must be paid the agreed-upon amount--the amount you were working for. (An employer can change your wage or salary "going forward"--that is, for work not yet done--as long as you get notice of it, if you did not have a written contract guarantying or locking in your pay: that's part of "employment at will.")
If your employer refuses to pay you what you earned, you could sue her for the money. Suing your employer is, of course, a drastic step, and one you might not want to do if the amount is small, but it is your option. The suit would be based on "breach of contract": violating the understanding or agreement as to what you should be paid.

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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