How long must I wait before receiving retainer from a job that I recently quit?

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How long must I wait before receiving retainer from a job that I recently quit?

I was a contractor for a cable company for almost a year. The last 6 months, the company switched us to 1099 employees. Well when that happened, the company took a certain percentage out of our checks as a retainer in case we tore something up. I never caused any damage during my time with the company so when I asked supervisor when I would get my retainer back, he sad I wouldn’t see that money for at least a year. Is this true? It doesn’t seem legal for a company you no longer work for to hold your money for that long. Seems like there hoping I’ll forget about that money after a year so they can keep it.

Asked on November 29, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no time period set by law. If there is a time period in any contract(s) or agreement(s) you signed, that time period is enforceable. Otherwise, they simply need to return it within a "reasonable" time after having had the chance to make sure there is no damage (e.g. after receiving back any company property and having a chance to inspect it, etc.). If you believe they have had a reasonable chance and have not returned the money, the only way to push matters along would be to sue them (e.g. in small claims court) and get a judge to agree that they have taken too long. You probably should give them at least 60 days before filing the suit: generally, 30 days is very reasonable, and up to 60 is not yet unreasonable, so you want to get past that 60-day mark to have a reasonable chance of convincing a court they are acting unreasonably.


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