My Employer Refuses To Pay Me My Last Check—Possible Solutions
While the “my employer refuses to pay me my last check” situation is not uncommon, it causes stress and anxiety. “Can they do that?” “What can I do to get my hard-earned money?” These are some of the questions that come to your mind when experiencing this type of breach of contract.
Based on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer:
- Has to settle wages for all hours you have worked for them
- May not refuse to pay your wages under any circumstances
When an employer refuses to pay an employee, they risk sanctions by a federal agency that enforces the FLSA—the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
While the FLSA requires your employer to pay your wages, the act:
- Does not mandate the employer to pay you as soon as you stop working
- Recommends that employers issue the final check by the next regular payday
To understand how long your employer has to pay you, you should check the state laws since some require companies to provide the last check immediately upon resignation.
Keep in mind that your company’s policies might specify whether you:
- Can get unused vacation pay
- Are eligible for rehire
Here is what you can do if an employer refuses to pay you:
- Start a lawsuit
- Send a breach of contract demand letter
- Contact a local office of the federal agency
If your employer refuses to pay you, you have every right to take legal action against them. Before initiating a lawsuit, you should know that:
- You will need to prove elements of the breach
- Your employer might raise affirmative defenses in court
- Legal proceedings can be time-consuming and expensive
To avoid delays and further expenses, you should try to negotiate an out-of-court settlement by sending a demand letter.
When an employer breaches a contract you have both agreed to, you should try to discuss the problem before starting a lawsuit.
The following table outlines why you should consider sending your employer a demand letter:
|Create a Demand Letter To||Explanations|
|Formally inform them of the breach||While it might seem obvious that your employer knows they have not fulfilled the terms of the contract, you should notify them in writing to:
|Avoid lengthy and expensive litigation||A well-written demand letter can show your employer that you:
Register for DoNotPay to prepare an airtight demand letter in a matter of minutes.
As reaching an agreement outside of court is beneficial for both you and your employer, your demand letter is a good way to prove that you know your rights and intend to exercise them.
To create a demand letter, you do not have to waste energy, money, and time on expensive lawyers, unreliable online templates, or complicated collection agencies. DoNotPay has a vast knowledge of state laws, and we use it to prepare watertight demand letters regardless of the type of breach (e.g., material, anticipatory, or any other).
Sign up for DoNotPay and follow these steps:
- Open the Client Breach of Contract product
- Answer a few questions about the contract and the other contractual party, e.g.:
- Name of the breaching party
- Terms of the agreement
- Payment deadline
- Amount the other party owes you
- Provide the final payment or delivery date
- Upload photo proof to support your claim, if possible
Preparing demand letters is not all we can do. DoNotPay can also help you sue in small claims court if the breaching party refuses to resolve the issue directly with you or ignores your demands.
If you do not receive your last check on the next regular payday, you could contact a local office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to seek help.
Here is how you can get in touch with a local WHD office:
- Find the Local Offices page on the WHD website
- Choose your state in the drop-down menu
- Visit or call a listed office in your state
Keep in mind that the WHD will ask you for the following details:
- First and last name
- Physical and email address
- Phone number
You will also have to provide the information about your (former) workplace:
- Name of the company
- Phone number
- The manager’s or owner’s name
- The type of work you did
- Frequency and method of payment, e.g., cash or paycheck, every Monday, etc.
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Thanks to DoNotPay, there is no need for back-and-forth communication. We will handle the necessary demand letters and forward them on your behalf.
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