withholding paycheck

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withholding paycheck

Download the original attachmentI am an internal medicine doctor working at an urgent care center and have been working there for 3 years. They have come to me in the past to ask me to hold my check because the place was short of money. Which I did. However, then the complaints were I was not being productive as I had many charts pending completion. I again told them verbally that I will hold the checks they give me and I held onto some checks for at least 3-4 weeks. I have been very ill these past three years thought to have cancer and had surgery to find out it was not thyroid cancer. I returned earlier within two weeks bc I was very low in funds to pay hospital bill. I found to my dismay when I got my check that the amount they said they had given me did not match what was actually in my bank. I asked If there were any checks the human resources dept didn’t give me in my absence and found that there were two checks not given to me for the month prior which was may and they also had held a check from february 2009 which the office manager told me was a decision made by my employer. I no longer enjoy my work and I know patients will suffer for it so I want to resign. I was also told that the amount they r paying me is more than they can afford because I am not productive. If I leave I know for a fact that a large majority of patients will leave so they are makinbg me feel like I’m making them poor and at the same time they r acting so nice to me. What can I do to protect myself from any more trickeries and should I be fired or resign and if so how in advance am I supposed to.

Asked on June 21, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

1) If you did the work (or used paid leave, such as sick or vacation days, that you had), they have to pay you. They cannot decide after the fact to withhold part of your earnings.

2) Going forward, your employer could choose to reduce your pay (if there is no employment contract in place preventing it) if they feel you are worth less money; and you have the optiont to either accept that reduction, to leave (i.e. resign), or to consider that they have "constructively" fired you by changing your work conditions in a way that no reasonable man or woman would accept and act as if you were terminated (they might contest that interpretation, though; it really only flies if the new conditions are unreasonable).

3) As a doctor, you have a reputation and a great deal of earning potential at stake, which could be jeopardized if your employer writes you up as unproductive or a bad doctor or otherwise spreads the word around.

For these reasons, probably your best best is (1) retain an attorney, who can help ensure your paid your back salary (including by suing, if necessary); (2) if possible, find a new position and give whatever notice is traditional for doctors; (3) if things come to ahead before you can find a new position, your attorney can help you negotiate an exit from the position that works for both sides.

This site should have a lawyer referral service; if you don't find someone through there, ask other doctors of your acquintence who they use as attorneys.


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