Generally, when an employee is terminated the final paycheck has to be handed over in a fairly short period of time. Sometimes, the employer has to give it to the employee when the termination occurs. When an employee resigns, normally the final paycheck is due at the next regularly scheduled pay period.
So what happens when the employer doesn’t make that final payment for time worked? The first step is always to send a written demand for the money. The employee can simply write a letter to the employer, demanding the money. Make sure to proof that you sent it. A receipt is best. In some states, the employee can get help with the written demand through that State’s Department of Labor, Wage and Hour division. Regardless of who or how the demand is made, it must be made. If the employer does not pay the wages and doesn’t have a good faith reason for not doing so, then penalties can be imposed as well.
If the employer still doesn’t pay, you may have to take them to Court. Depending on the amount of money involved, you might be able to do this through a small claims court or a county court, where you can represent yourself if you don’t want an attorney. If you have a larger claim, then you probably need the help of an attorney to get through the process.
If you have questions about what to do, the best place to start is your state’s Department of Labor. Most have FAQs and help lines that can solve many immediate problems.
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