What to do if I had put my 2 weeks in at my previous employer, then 3 days later they came and said I was being let go for “coupon fraud”?

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What to do if I had put my 2 weeks in at my previous employer, then 3 days later they came and said I was being let go for “coupon fraud”?

I admitted and signed their paperwork saying I would pay them back the $36 in “lost product”. I waited for now over 4 months to get any kind of bill in the mail wanting payment. Today I get a letter in the mail from a legal payment center stating I now owe $236. On top of all this I never received my last paycheck which would have probably been for over $100. I just want to know if there’s any way I can just pay the $36 and not have them come back on me with harder legal action or if there’s literally nothing I can do about this harassment from a previous employer.

Asked on December 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If you agreed to pay $36.00, that  is all you would owe, UNLESS the agreement you signed required you to pay it promptly and you failed to do so, and also indicated that if they had to take legal action, you would pay the cost thereof. In that case, they may be justified in adding the legal or collections cost ($200) to what you had agreed to pay. Note that even if you feel that, as per what you signed, the extra $200 is unwarranted, it may make more  sense to pay it than risk collections action and litigation.

2) However, an employer may not withhold an employee's paycheck unless the employee consents (agrees) to it, or unless withholding is required by law (e.g. for wage garnishment)--even if the employee were fired for theft and owed money to the employer. You may sue them, including in small claims court (where you could act as your own attorney) to recover your last paycheck.


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