UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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Can my former employer withold my pay
since I left for a competitor?
Asked on October 28, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas
M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 6 years ago | Contributor
No. an employer cannot refuse to to pay an ex-worker for all hours worked. This is true no matter what the reason for the employee's departure. So for example, absent a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary, if they left owing the business money, etc., the company's recourse would be to pursue the employee for that separately. In other words, it would have to pay the wages and then attempt to collect. However, that does not seem to the case here, your situation seems more straightforward. Accordingly, if your former employer refuses to give you the compensation owed, you can either file a wage claim with your state's departmemnat of labor or file suit in small claims court.
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