If my boss is refusing to pay me for time workedbecasueshe alleges thatI am responsible for business losses due to my resignation, is this legal?

UPDATED: Apr 16, 2011

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If my boss is refusing to pay me for time workedbecasueshe alleges thatI am responsible for business losses due to my resignation, is this legal?

I resigned from my job because the owner was obnoxious. Now she’s refusing to pay me for time worked. She says that I am responsible for costs incurred to replace locks, re-key alarm codes and retain a lawyer because of lost sales due to negative publicity. I did make an error in judgement by sending an e-mail to a few people complaining about the owner, but they were employees, not customers and I don’t believe I hurt her sales. She’s also claiming that she’s holding my pay due to possible theft of merchandise and “many other considerations”. She says I owe her more than she owes me. Is this legal?

Asked on April 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You *must* be paid for all the work you actually did--there are no exceptions.

2) The employer can't sue you for the cost to replace locks, re-key alarms, or other such routine actions when an employee departs, since the employee is not legally responsible for this--the employer chooses to do these things.

3) If you did cost the company losses in other ways, they *may* be able to sue you for them--but they would have to sue you and prove their case in court. They can't simply declare that you owe them money.

4) Even if you do owe the company money, they can't take it out of wages owed you without your consent; i.e. they must pay you for your work, and independently of that, could try to sue you to collect money they feel they owe you.

5) It is possible to owe an employer more than they owe you, if you caused them a large-enough loss or enough damages.

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