If I have been working from 9 am – 8 pm daily, in the office, am I allowed to collect unpaid wages?

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If I have been working from 9 am – 8 pm daily, in the office, am I allowed to collect unpaid wages?

My hourly rate was $15/hr. My former employer has contacted me demanding the amount in credit card payments I collected on my personal square reader. I do not wish to keep the money from her but I do need her to understand that she “owes” me more than the $900 I currently have. I am currently holding on to the payments to maintain communication with her. Did she violate my rights as an employee? I can explain why I collected those payments; I did not steal.

Asked on November 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have committed theft: even if your employer owes you wages, you have no right to hold onto or retain her property, including payments owed her. The law does NOT give you the right to "hold[] on to the payments to maintain communication." Not only can you be sued by her for the money, you could potentially be arrested. If your employer failed to pay you any wages, your recourse is to either contact the department of labor to file a complaint, and/or to sue her for the money--not to steal money from her. (Regardless of your motivation, if you take property which you know belongs to another, that is theft.)


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