How long can a final paycheck be withheld?

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How long can a final paycheck be withheld?

I was let go from my job a month ago. My next scheduled pay day was to be about 2 1/2 weeks later, however, I did not receive my pay/commission check at that time. And I should have received my check as it was for work/commissions already worked for. As stipulated in my severance agreement, my severance pay would be held until my inventory was sent in. I sent all my inventory to the company 3 weeks ago (prior to pay day). I still have not received any check(s) as of this date. My company’s legal/HR dept is in TXand corporate is in MN. I called HR and they said they are holding all monies until inventory is accounted for.

Asked on May 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am basing this answer on New York Law.  As per N. Y. Labor Laws § 191, when an employee is fired, the employer must give a final paycheck to him or her on or before the next regularly scheduled pay date.  An employer can only make deductions from an employee’s final paycheck that are required under federal or New York law, such as taxes or garnishments, or that the employee has authorized specifically in writing.  There are no circumstances under which an employer can totally withhold a final paycheck under New York law; employers are typically required to issue a final paycheck containing compensation for all earned, unpaid wages.
If an employee is unable to obtain his or her final paycheck from a former employer, the employee can file a claim for unpaid wages with the New York State Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards.  Call and see what your status here given where your employer is incorporated.  Good luck.

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