Is it illegal for an ex-employer to hold your money after he has fired you?

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Is it illegal for an ex-employer to hold your money after he has fired you?

I was fired from my job do to my mother calling my employer. He fired me over the phone back almost 2 months ago. He has owed me $571 since then and has given me the runaround when asked to pay. What do you suggest?

Asked on August 10, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states an employer must turn over your last paycheck within 72 hours or less of your last day of employment.  Some states even mandate that your last paycheck should be given to you the same day that you are terminated from your job.  However, if you company property that you have yet to return to your employer, your employer could deduct the amount of the property from your last paycheck.  However, you would be owed the remaining amount of your final paycheck.

 

Given that the employer does not have a legal basis to hold onto your last and final paycheck, you should take further legal action to recover this money.  Since the check is for less than $5,000.00, you could file a claim in small claims court.  Also, if you tell the employer that you are going to file in small claims court, that might get them moving in handing over your paycheck.  If not, file in small claims court and in addition to the money owed to you in your paycheck, request the court order your employer to pay your court fees and costs associated with filing the claim.

 


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