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Can I Sue for Unpaid Wages if I No Longer Work for the Business that Owes Me Money?

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Leaving a job can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re still owed a paycheck. An already stressful situation is made worse when bills are due and your former employer is refusing to pay the wages you rightfully earned. Whether you voluntarily quit a job or are terminated against your will, your employer is still obligated to pay any and all outstanding wages for the work you performed prior to leaving the company. Employers are generally not allowed to withhold your last paycheck or place additional conditions on receiving your last paycheck.

How Soon Can I Get My Last Paycheck?

Federal Law does not require an employer to pay an employee’s last paycheck immediately upon termination or departure from the company. However, employers are also not permitted to withhold a former employee’s last paycheck for an extended period of time. Generally, employers are required to pay their last paycheck no later than their next regularly scheduled payday. Some states have laws that require an employee’s last paycheck to be paid immediately upon departure from the company. These state laws can depend on whether the employee was fired or voluntarily terminated.

Does My Employer Have to Pay Me for Unused Vacation Time or Paid Time Off?

The short answer is: it depends. There is no Federal Law requiring employers to pay out unused vacation time or paid time off (PTO) that has accrued during a worker’s period of employment. Generally, the policies that determine vacation and PTO payout are outlined in individual employment contracts and employee handbooks. These policies typically control whether or not an employer is required to pay out unused vacation time or PTO after an employee departs form the company.

If your company allows you to accrue vacation time, it may be the case that they are required to pay you for any unused vacation time you have saved up when you leave the company. However, if the company has a clear policy that states unused vacation time or paid time off is forfeited when employment is terminated, it is unlikely that a court will require the company to compensate an employee for the unused time.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Unpaid Wages?

You are not prohibited from bringing a lawsuit for lost wages or benefits simply because you no longer work for the company. However, there are deadlines that can prevent you from claiming unpaid wages if you wait too long to file a lawsuit. These deadlines, known in the law as “statutes of limitations” vary, but for unpaid wages are typically 2 years from the last wage violation.

Changing jobs is stressful enough without the added hassle of being denied the wages and benefits you rightfully earned. Contact us online or by phone at (513) 202-0710 to speak to an experienced employment lawyer.

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ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Past results obtained by Biller & Kimble, LLC are no guarantee of future results. Each case or matter is different and must be judged on its own merits.