What can I do if my ex-employer is withholding my last paycheck to coerce me into signing a non-compete, confidentiality, and a non-disparagement agreement?

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What can I do if my ex-employer is withholding my last paycheck to coerce me into signing a non-compete, confidentiality, and a non-disparagement agreement?

I know he can’t hold my paycheck ransom but can you site the state law or do I just have to sue?

Asked on February 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that such a withholding is illegal. At this point you will need to sue in small claims court (assuming the amount in question is not greater than the maximum allowed for a small claims matter in your state); you should also file a complaint with your state's department of labor. The fact is that an employee is entitled to be paid for all hours worked. Without their express written consent, an employer cannot withold wages. This for any reason.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You have to sue. Withholding pay for work done is breach of contract (the agreement, even if unwritten or oral, pursuant to which you worked in exchange for pay) and also represents unjust enrichment of the employer (they are unjustly or improperly enriched by having had your labor without paying for it). A good option, if the last check is equal to or less than the maximum limit for small claims court, is to sue in small claims on a pro se (as your own attorney) basis: not only is that an inexpensive option, but small claims cases get resolved much faster than other cases.


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