Holding last paycheck.

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Holding last paycheck.

I had to fire our IT person because of insubordination. He did not and does not want to give me the passwords for the databases that hee created. Legally can I hold his last paycheck until he gives me the passwords?

Asked on January 27, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not hold his last paycheck: the law *never* allows paycheck withholding, even if the employee owes you something, without employee consent or a court order (e.g. court-ordered wage garnishment). What you can do is sue him for a court order requiring that he turn over the passwords, and/or for monetary compensation equal to any losses or costs this costs you, such as lost profit (from not being able to do business) or the cost of hiring IT consultant to hack the passwords. You can bring the lawsuit on an "emergent"  (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis, to get into court much faster (a week or two, not months); doing so can be procedurally more complex, so if you want to do this, it is recommended you hire an attorney to help. (Actually, if the company is an LLC or corporation, you *must* have a lawyer; only lawyers can represent LLCs and corporations.)


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