wages and final pay

my employer has not given me my final paycheck because of a personal matter. they also refuse to pay over time accordingly. also they are holding my vehicle hostage (it was moved without a key or my permission). what are my rights? the police say they can't make them give me my car only keep the peace.

1 answer  |  asked Jul 23, 2003 3:44 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Final pay - three separate questions

Your question raises three separate and distinct questions with three answers.
When an employer fails to pay wages due, you can recover them in two ways. The labor Dept. of the Industrial Commission of Arizona has the authority to administratively handle wage claims of up to $2,500.00. If the amount due is more than that, or if you like lawsuits, you can file suit for three times the amount due. Whether you get the pay or not depends on the employer's reason for not paying you. Getting three times the amount due is not automatic, but is reserved for cases in which the employer has no good faith reason for not paying.
Unpaid overtime is a different matter, one that is covered by the Fair labor Standards Act. The U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wage & Hours Division, investigates claims of unpaid overtime, or you can file suit and seek twice the amount due.
The auto issue is more complicated. If the car belongs to you, the employer's taking of the vehicle constitutes theft ( a criminal act) and conversion (a civil cause of action for damages or return of the property). If the car belonged to the employer, you probably have no recourse. If the employer held a lien on the car but it was in your name, their action is governed by the laws governing repossession. There must be a default of some kind under the terms of the security agreement. This is an issue of commercial law, not employment law. You need to confer with an attorney regarding your options.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jul 23, 2003 7:48 PM [EST]

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