What to do if a company worked me for2 days then fired me and told meI would not be compensated?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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What to do if a company worked me for2 days then fired me and told meI would not be compensated?

I received an offer for employment, went for the background and drug screening a week prior to the estimated start date. I called ahead of time to make sure everything was OK and was told that they would have me start yesterday/ I went to what I thought was orientation and they immediately put me to work. I returned today and mid-way through the shift they proceeded to tell me my screening was positive so they would not be compensating me for the time that I had put in. Furthermore, they had me start through a temp agency but did not have me signed onto that temp agency prior to having me work?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter whether you are fired after 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 months, or 2 years--however long you worked for, you must be paid. (If an hourly employee, you should be paid for the specific hours worked; if a salaried employee, if they let you come in and start working, you should be paid for the full day, even if let go mid-day.) While the employer is free to fire you at will (as long as there is no employment contract), you do have to be paid for the work done. Whether it's the employer or the temp agency who owes you the money depends on who you were actually employed by at that time. Of course, if it's not a large amount of money, it may not be worth suing for--since that's the only way to get the money, if it is not voluntarily paid--but that is a different matter; legally, you are entitled to compensation for all the work you actually did.

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