Am I still entitled to my wages?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I still entitled to my wages?

I submitted my letter of resignation on 11/06 and it stated that my last date of employment would be 11/17. Long story short, I was asked to leave on 11/10. The owner of the company walked into my office and said that he thought that it was best that I leave but that he was legally required to pay me for the week that he gave me permission to leave. A few days I was due to be paid, I received a certified letter from him stating that he was going to suspend my pay unless I gave him documents that I deleted from my computer. I can’t give him documents that I don’t have which meant he never had any intentions of paying me in the first place. In my opinion this was his way of getting out of paying me because I did not delete any documents from my computer and have never had any behavior of that sort. I submitted a wage claim detailing what had happened and it was denied because apparently at-will companies are not obligated to pay their employees for time they did not work. I have documentation from the day that I was excused from work that I sent emailed to the owner of the company detailing what he said to me. The email was definitely sent to him maybe 5 minutes after he left my office, it was sent from my work email and I blind copied myself. I never received a reply to that email, however, his letters to me threatening to suspend my pay verifies that there was a conversation that was had in which he told me that he would pay me. However, the wage claim lawyer or representative said that deciphering that is not her job. Her due diligence is to notify the company and to inform me that they are not obligated to pay me and that I would have to take my matter to small wage court. She even said, just to let you know your employers were unaware that they were not obligated to pay you. I worked under HR and received plenty of wage claim letters from other employees, while this may be true that they didn’t know they were not obligated to pay me, I think they were lying. They were just trying to get out of what they said to me. At that moment I felt is though she really did not look into my case because if I were to commit a crime at this very moment, get arrested and say that I was unaware that I could not commit this crime, I would still be sent to jail. Before I get involved with small wage court, I wanted to know if it would be a waste of time.

Asked on December 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter if they knew or did not know that they were not obligated to pay you--the fact is, if you (as you evidently were) an "at will" employee, they only had to pay you to the last day you actually worked, regardless of 1) how much notice you gave; and/or 2) whether they had promised to pay you longer (such a promise is not enforceable and may be reneged upon). If you were not paid through your last actual day, you could sue for the unpaid wages; if paid through your last actual day, you received everything to which you were legally entitled and have no recourse.

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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