Can pay last paycheck be withheld?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can pay last paycheck be withheld?

my employer allowed me to borrow the money from the cash register. However, now she is saying that she didn’t and got the police involved. I have texts saying that I could. I no longer work there and she is threatening to keep my last check or she will file charges. Can she do this and what do I need to do?

Asked on June 30, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) She can't withhold your paycheck without your consent or agreement; the wage and labor laws are very clear about that.
2) If you borrowed money and don't repay it, she can sue you for the money.
3) Theft requires criminal intent--that is, an intention to steal, not to borrow with the agreement of the other person. If you can prove, as indicate that you can, that you borrowed with her permission, you have a good defense to theft charges (but again, she can sue you for the money if not repaid). Note that does not mean she cannot initially file charges against you, because if/when she does, the police will only know what she tells them; you would have your chance to present evidence to the contrary later in the process.

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 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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