How long do I have to wait to get paid before I sue?

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How long do I have to wait to get paid before I sue?

I am a musician who was wrongfully terminated after my last gig. However, I have not yet received payment for that last performance, which was 2 weeks ago. How long do I have to wait to get paid before I can take my former employer to small claims court? Also, can I collect damages because, knowing him, I’m certain he’s deliberately withholding paying me out of spite.

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you were an independent contract (not actually an employee) of this business, then payment was due per the contract or service agreement you had; whenever it is late according to that agreement, that is when you may take legal action.

2) If you were an employee, then it depends on your state: some states require payment whenever the next regularly scheduled payroll would have been; others require it by end of the month or within a certain number of days; a very few require it the day of termination. You need to either look up "final paycheck" for your state, or else repost your question identifying the state you are writing from.

3) There are no additional damages available, unfortunately, for the check being withheld out of spite.


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