Is it illegal for an ex-employer to hold your money after he has fired you?

UPDATED: Aug 10, 2011

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Is it illegal for an ex-employer to hold your money after he has fired you?

I was fired from my job do to my mother calling my employer. He fired me over the phone back almost 2 months ago. He has owed me $571 since then and has given me the runaround when asked to pay. What do you suggest?

Asked on August 10, 2011 Ohio


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In most states an employer must turn over your last paycheck within 72 hours or less of your last day of employment.  Some states even mandate that your last paycheck should be given to you the same day that you are terminated from your job.  However, if you company property that you have yet to return to your employer, your employer could deduct the amount of the property from your last paycheck.  However, you would be owed the remaining amount of your final paycheck.


Given that the employer does not have a legal basis to hold onto your last and final paycheck, you should take further legal action to recover this money.  Since the check is for less than $5,000.00, you could file a claim in small claims court.  Also, if you tell the employer that you are going to file in small claims court, that might get them moving in handing over your paycheck.  If not, file in small claims court and in addition to the money owed to you in your paycheck, request the court order your employer to pay your court fees and costs associated with filing the claim.


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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