Can your employer refuse to provide you with copies of cancelled checks if you feel that they may have been signed by someone else?

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Can your employer refuse to provide you with copies of cancelled checks if you feel that they may have been signed by someone else?

I am an independent insurance agent. I believe that someone at the agency where I work may have intercepted some of my checks and cashed them. I contacted the insurance company that issued the checks to me and asked that they send me a transmittal of the checks sent to me and the dates that they were cashed and they did. However, when I requested copies of the cancelled checks they refused to do so and referred me to the general manager of the insurance agency. I asked him to request them and he says no and that I don’t need them. What can I do to get copies?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

William Price / Growthlaw

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This type of information can be obtained in discovery, if you want to sue the company for nonpayment, or as subpoenaed information from the company, if you decide to sue whoever may have been withholding or stealing your checks. This could be the insurance company, your insurance agency, or some other person or organization who received the checks.

You should, however, be able to verify the amount of deposits you made in your accounts against the list of checks the company sent you, to determine if there is an amount paid but not received and deposited by you. The question then (for proof of conversion, which is both a crime and a civil wrong that can be sued for in Illinois) would be one of proof:

(a) That you were rightfully entitled to the money --for this, you don't need checks, since the list should prove same, along with your contract with your agency and the insurance company's contract with same or with you;

(b) That the money was received by the person or organization you are suing (again, the list you got may prove where the checks were sent, or you could get another note from the company saying all were sent to your agency, or you could get that information by subpoena after litigation, if necessary).

(c) That the checks or other items were not received by you (check your deposit records, if e-deposits are normal for you, or you can prove this by your regular accounts for the period and an affidavit from you)

(d) That the moneys were wrongfully withheld from you (if you have an agency agreement and customer records of contracts issued and premiums paid and commissions due) showing why the sums were due you, and in what amounts). You will need to show control by a particular person or organization of same, and signatures on the cancelled checks could show this -- which is why they could be obtained by subpoena from the companies or the agency if you start litigation. A lawyer's letter to the possible litigation target might produce copies, or an offer to negotiate restitution. 

With this proof, you can claim conversion liability, or breach of contract liability, most likely the latter if against the agency with whom you have a contract. Lawyer's fees might be recoverable for the former.

Court costs and lawyer fees would be your responsibility unless you win the conversion or contract or other lawsuit, and this can cost money and time. If the person or persons who may have taken the checks don't have personal assets, litigation may not be worthwhile. Similarly, if your agency is the potential target, you may lose your business connection with them if you sue them. 

Hope this helps,

 

Bill Price

William A. Price

Attorney at Law

[email protected]


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