My company failed to meet payroll. I am an at-will employee, paid monthly. Is this considered a breach of employment? Should I consider myself terminated and not bother appearing for work?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Failure to pay wages is a breach of the employment contract and is unlawful under state and federal law. For purposes of filing an unemployment insurance claim, you  may consider yourself “terminated.” Of course you have a right to leave that job and look for other work, but you had the right to leave your job because of your “at-will” status even before your employer’s failure to pay wages.  As far as getting paid is concerned, you should immediately file a complaint with your state department of labor or employment.

By the way, you should also check with your state department of labor on whether it’s legal to receive a paycheck just once per month; some types of employees msut be paid twice per month.



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