Can your boss withhold your final paycheck?

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Can your boss withhold your final paycheck?

My boss is refusing to give me my check because I quit. He said until he calculates what I owe for an accident I was in using one of the company cars, he won’t be giving me any money. Is he allowed to do that and shouldn’t insurance be paying for damages?

Asked on September 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) No, he can't withhold your final paycheck (or any paycheck) without your consent (agreement) or a court order (such as for wage garnishment), even if you do owe him money. He has to pay you, but could sue you if the believes you in turn owe him money. Employees MUST be paid even when the owe the company money, unless they agree otherwise.
2) If you caused damage to a company car and were at fault in causing it (e.g. driving negligently or carelessly), you can be sued for the money instead of the company placing an insurance; anyone who carelessly damages another's property can be held liable for it.
3) Even if the company does put in an insurnace claim, if you were at fault, the insurer can sue you for the money: you can be required, as an at-fault driver, to reimburse the insurance for the claim.
If you were at fault and caused significant damage, you may wish to let him keep the check; the alternative is, you can sue for it, but he'll likely in turn sue you for the damage. It may be best to just see if you can call it even.


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