If my ex-boss is blackmailing me and won’t give me my last check, what should I do?

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If my ex-boss is blackmailing me and won’t give me my last check, what should I do?

After I got fired he called and said if I attempted to collect unemployment he would turn me into the police cause he went through my texts and e-mails and found drug related activity. I asked for my paycheck 5 times. Today I sent him an e-mail asking for my paycheck or I will file with the department of labor. He wrote back, “I have kept all your e-mails and messages. Do you really want me to turn you and your drug dealing friends in? I did you a favor by not going to the cops when I found out what you were doing. Let it go”.

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, what he is doing is wrong:

1) You are owed your final paycheck no matter what--even if he felt you in turn owed him money for some reason, he'd have to sue you for that, not withhold your paycheck.

2) Unlesss you were fired for cause, you are eligible for unemployment--though if you were fired for drug use, that would be cause and you could be denied.

3) People are NOT allowed to blackmail, threaten, or extort; they are specifically not allowed to use the criminal justice system as leverage to get what they want.

So you could sue for the paycheck, apply for unemployment (as long as you were not fired for cause), and even try to take legal action against your ex-boss for his threats...and he, of course, could turn over any evidence in his possession to the police, since the fact that he has acted improperly does not bar him from reporting a crime of which he is aware. You should think carefully about this situation before acting.


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