Can an employer not pay you for work done?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer not pay you for work done?

I worked for Chipotle for about 3 weeks and
never got a check from there back in 2015. I
tried to reach them 3-4 times about this with no

I also have a company who never paid me a
final pay check for over 3,000, they have 4
claims in small claim court for this type of
situation too

Asked on May 20, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, an employer MUST pay you for all work you did (e.g. all hours worked). Certainly, they could fire you if they don't like you or how you were working out, but you still must be paid for all work you did and could sue for the money if you were not paid.
However, this is essentially a contractual claim: not paying you the amount they agreed to pay for the work you did. If there was no written employment contract, it would be a claim based on an oral (unwritten) contract. In your state, the "statute of limitations" or "SOL" for a claim based on an oral contract is only two years; this means you must file any lawsuit within two years of when they should have paid you but failed to do so or else you will not be allowed to sue.

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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