What to do if I was never told, nor signed any documentation, that I had to undergo a background check and now can’t get paid until one is done?

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What to do if I was never told, nor signed any documentation, that I had to undergo a background check and now can’t get paid until one is done?

I worked for a summer camp. Now my employer is telling me I need a background check in order to get paid saying that is “legally required”. Am I really required to give them one even though there was no mention in my contract to be subject to a background check and can they withhold funds if I do not give them one?

Asked on December 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No--your employer may not withhold your pay for work you have already completed for any reason. Certainly, an employer can require a background check before hiring someone; and could elect to fire (or  not rehire next summer) you if a background check is not successfully completed now. However, you must be paid for all work you actually did, and your employer has no legal basis to withhold your pay. You may sue your employer to obtain your money, if the employer will not voluntarily pay you.


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