What can I do if my former employer withholds hours from my final paycheck?

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What can I do if my former employer withholds hours from my final paycheck?

My former employer fired me for taking a given/paid personal day. When I went to get my final check he didn’t put the personal day on it. Also, if I have personal time given to me by the company, do they have to pay me for unused personal time?

Asked on April 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If you had earned and properly used the personal day, the employer may not dock a day from your final paycheck because you used the personal day. Personal days are part of your compensation, if the company has chosen to provide them; therefore, it may not after the fact take those days away--which is what it is effectively doing, if it reduces your pay for having used one--any more than the employer could retroactively reduce your wage or salary.

2) If you had and correctly used the day, then to fire you for that may be wrongful termination, since by doing so, the employer is firing you doing something which you had the right to do and thus effectively denying you part of your compensation.

3) The law does not require personal days to be paid on termination--it is up to companies to set their own policies on this. The majority of employers do not pay personal days (even if they pay vacation days) on termination of employment. However, if it had been the policy of your employer to pay unused time  like this, the employer must  continue to follow that policy--at least until it announces a change in policy--and therefore pay you.

From what you write, it may be worthwhile for you to consult with employment law counsel to evaluate whether you would have a wrongful termination claim. Even if you don't, you could likely sue (e.g. in small claims court) to recover any money the employer owes you, such as for wrongfully docking your pay.


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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