Is an employer allowed to hold your final paycheck if you have some of their equipment?

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Is an employer allowed to hold your final paycheck if you have some of their equipment?

I was let go of my contract as an owner operator truck driver and was supposed to
have my final paycheck deposited in my bank account today but that did not
happen. I called my former employer to find out why and they said I had to
return their equipment first, which is out of state. Can they legally do this?

Asked on August 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, your former employer cannot do this. An employer is not allowed to withhold a worker's final paycheck. Your check and any equipment that you may still have are 2 seperate things. If they are refusing to pay you until the equipment is returned, you can file a wage complaint with the CA Department of Industrial Relations. That having been said, you must still return the equipment. If you fail to do so, your ex-employer can file a civil suit against you for its return or can sue you for its cost. Further, if they really wanted to get tough, they could actually file criminal charges for "conversion" (a form of theft.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, your former employer cannot do this. An employer is not allowed to withhold a worker's final paycheck. Your check and any equipment that you may still have are 2 seperate things. If they are refusing to pay you until the equipment is returned, you can file a wage complaint with the CA Department of Industrial Relations. That having been said, you must still return the equipment. If you fail to do so, your ex-employer can file a civil suit against you for its return or can sue you for its cost. Further, if they really wanted to get tough, they could actually file criminal charges for "conversion" (a form of theft.


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