What canI do if my employer does not pay me on payday?

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2012

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What canI do if my employer does not pay me on payday?

I got my check 2 days late. My employer told me that I must not deposit it or cash it. However, I took the check to the bank it was drawn on to cash it only to find out that there was not enough funds in the account. What are my rights?

Asked on February 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have a right to be paid for the work you do. If you are not paid at all, you may sue to recover the money from your employer. If you are paid, just slightly late, as a practical matter, there is little you can do--unless the late payment somehow causes you significant damage or cost (for example, it causes you to miss a rent payment, which leads to eviction), you can't effectively sue. That is because the legal system only provides compensation for actual losses or costs, so without losses, there is nothing for which to sue. You could try contacting the state department of labor to complain, but it is unlikely that they would devote much energy or attention to a case where you are "only" being paid slightly late--that is not to downplay the unfairness or frustration of late payment, but the labor department has to deal with cases of multiple employees not being paid at all, or being far less than they are legally entitled to. They have some very large and urgent cases, which would likely eclipse a late payment case in terms of prioritizing their resources.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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