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can my previous employer withhold my final check?

Hello, I was let go from my job almost three weeks ago and after the pay period ended i have not received my final paycheck. I emailed my previous employer asking about the status of my final paycheck and she advised me that I am not going to receive a final check. Can my previous employer withhold my final check that includes last week, vacation and sick time owed to me? is there anything i can do? thank you.

2 answers  |  asked Jun 26, 2010 03:13 AM [EST] in Other  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Elisa Ungerman
Generally no - but it may depend on whether you have outstanding obligations such as child support garnishments, tax garnishments, medical cost sharing, (deductions allowed by statute)or previously agreed-to withdrawals from your paycheck. You were entitled to receive your final pay stubb on the date of your termination documenting what your earnings were and what the deductions were. You should have received that. If you were in fact owed wages, then those should have been paid to you on the day you were terminated. If you were owed wages and were not paid them, then there is a maximum 30 day penalty for not paying you those wages. You can file a complaint with the labor commissioner or see out a competent labor atty to help you.

posted by Elisa Ungerman  |  Jun 26, 2010 1:54 PM [EST]
Janet M. Koehn
If your employer is withholding final pay from everyone, it's worth your while to talk to an attorney experienced in employment law , and particularly in wage and hour matters. you can find one in your area by going to the website of the california employment lawyers association, www.celaweb.org.

if it is only you who have been denied pay, you can file your claim with the california dept. of labor standards enforcement (www.dir.ca.gov/dlse. the commissioner will contact your employer and (relatively!) quickly resolve your claim.

it is a violation of california law to withhold final pay and accrued vacation time when an employee is terminated for any reason. you also are entitled to hefty penalties for the withholding, up to 30 days of pay.

posted by Janet M. Koehn  |  Jun 26, 2010 1:51 PM [EST]