Can a company just stop giving me paychecks and write me off?

I work for a Company that company owns several clothing brands. I work exclusively on one brand. The license between Company and brand is being terminated.

The brand told the company that they would be hiring the employees that worked for Company on their brand.
Company never checked with us to determine if this was accurate.
I received a paycheck yesterday from Company and it was slightly higher than normal. When I questioned my boss at Company he advised he would check. I met with him today and he advised that "as of October 1 we no longer worked for Company." How is that possible I asked when (a) I just received a paycheck yesterday (b) I just had a meeting not 5 minutes ago with 4 employees of company to review invoices and such. His reply "as of October 1 we no longer worked for Company." He said
that we are the responsability of the brand. The brand said the opposite.

The brand has offered me a position if and when the new potential Licensor comes through, but until then...

Can a company just stop giving me paychecks and write me off? Are they legally to bound to at least fire me?

I would love to speak to someone about this and give/get more info. If you email me back I can give you my phone #


1 answer  |  asked Oct 10, 2002 2:21 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Who's Responsible for Paying

Your fact situation is complex, but my sense is that, in the end, both the Brand and the Company will be responsible for your pay.

If the issue is whether an employer can fire you without warning, the answer is usually yes. If a lot of people are being terminated at once from the same location, then a federal law called WARN might offer some very limited protection. But based on how you describe your situation, your situation might not be covered by WARN.

The bigger concern I have is who is paying you for your work. An employer cannot just decide it will not pay people who have already put in time for them. Someone will be held on the hook for the unpaid wages -- it could even be individual managers. Under New York law, employers cannot delay payment of wages beyond a certain point.

The laws governing the payment of wages are generally pretty tough on employers. If your situation involves unpaid wages, I strongly urge you to follow-up. Give me a call.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Oct 11, 2002 10:18 AM [EST]

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