Can my husband employer hold his last pay check if he owes them money without going through an attorney or judge?

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Can my husband employer hold his last pay check if he owes them money without going through an attorney or judge?

My husband was head of Maint acne for an apartment complex. They fired him for pawning something of the companies yesterday. His supervisor called me today and said the owner of the company is pressing charges, wants us out of our apartment that we live in ASAP on the same property he works at and keeping his last check which is due to be deposited after midnight tonight. Can they kick us out that fast and keep his check as well? Do they have to go through legal channels or can they just keep his money and change the locks on me tomorrow? Without his check, I can’t move anywhere.

Asked on May 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) They can evict you if you husband is terminated, if the unit was something he received as part of his employment. They cannot simply change the locks but rather need to go through the proper eviction process in/through court. If they do simply change the locks, you can go to your county court and get an order letting you back in until they evict you properly; you may also be entitled to some monetary compensation. But bear in mind that if the unit was part of job, they will be able to get you out once they do it the right way.
2) They cannot simply hold or take his check: the law is very clear that employees must be paid all wages, even if they owe the employer money. You could in theory sue for the paycheck, but bear in mind that if your husband did pawn something belonging to the company, they could counterclaim for the value of what he pawned, or at least raise its value in your lawsuit against them as a "set-off," or credit against, what they owe you. If what he took has approximately the same value as his paycheck, there is likely no point in suing: you will not net out ahead, once their claim is netted out against yours.


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