Can my employer tell me I cannot cash my paycheck?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer tell me I cannot cash my paycheck?

My employer told me to not cash my paycheck until they have funds available. I am the bookkeeper and sometimes earn more than others. It’s been 10 days since I received my check and the employer insists I must hold my check until funds in the bank improve. Can my employer allow others to cash their checks but not me?

Asked on January 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Telling an employee to wait to cash their paycheck is tantamount to witholding their pay, which is illegal under both federal and state law. If this was a one time occurrnce you probaly can't do much about it (and least it won't be worth your time and trouble). However, if this is a pattern of behavior, then you can file a wage complaint,with the WA State Department of Labor and Industries. You can also contact an employment law attorney in your area and consult directly with them. Your employer can face stiff fines and penalties for this conduct. 

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