Under what conditions can an employer withhold an employee’s paycheck?

UPDATED: Oct 17, 2012

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Under what conditions can an employer withhold an employee’s paycheck?

I have a friend working as an employee for a cleaning company cleaning retail stores after hours. They are with holding his paycheck currently because they alleged that he failed to turn on the alarm system and lock the door when leaving one night. He is 100% sure he did both of these things but that is he/sad/she said. Can they legally hold up his paycheck until they decide what they want to do? It has already come out that nothing was taken from the store and nothing was missing the next morning, so no harm was done. Yet they are still holding his paycheck from him pending some investigation they claim to be doing. Is this legal? He is really upset over this because his landlord is now past due on the rent but working with him due to circumstances. What can he do?

Asked on October 17, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are no circumstances under which an employer can totally withhold a final paycheck under your state's law. If an employee is unable to obtain their paycheck from an employer, the employee can file a Labor Standards Complaint Form with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division, Labor Standards Bureau within 2 years of the date on which the wages are earned.

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