If you resigned or have been terminated from your job, you should be expecting to receive your last paycheck. But what happens when your employer refuses to release your last paycheck? You can consult with a last paycheck lawyer in New York to see what your options are.
These cases can usually be accepted on a contingency basis, where the lawyer will only be paid once you receive your last paycheck plus damages, based on a percentage of what you receive. A lawyer will not get paid unless you win.
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Last paycheck rules in New York
Under New York Labor Law § 191, if your employment has been terminated, regardless of whether you were fired or you quit, your employer should give you your last paycheck not later than the next scheduled payday after your termination.
For workers who are paid weekly, the regular payday should not be later than seven (7) calendar days after the end of the week when the wages are earned.
For example, if you are a weekly wage earner and you regularly receive your wages the Wednesday after that particular week you worked, if you were terminated on Tuesday this week, you should expect to receive your last paycheck on Wednesday next week.
Remedies if you don’t receive your last paycheck
You have two options when you don’t receive your last paycheck from your employer: a) file a claim with the New York Department of Labor; or b) file a private lawsuit in court.
New York Department of Labor
You can file your claim with the New York Department of Labor’s Division of Labor Standards by filling out a form. If you are successful in your claim, you can receive your last paycheck, some damages, and legal costs.
This route, however, can take up to four years to get resolved and might result to a lower amount of recovery.
File a private lawsuit in court
The best option when you have not received your last paycheck is to consult with a last paycheck lawyer in New York. Before filing the lawsuit, your last paycheck lawyer will send a demand letter to your employer on their law firm’s letterhead. This will signify to your employer that you are serious about pursuing your claim. Usually, at this stage, your employer will already settle the case.
However, if your employer still refuses to settle despite a demand letter, your last paycheck lawyer can file a claim with the court. With the court, you can be awarded not only your last paycheck but also an amount of liquidated damages equal to the amount of your last paycheck plus attorney’s fees, court costs, and other legal expenses.
For example, if your last paycheck was $5,000, you can be awarded by the court additional liquidated damages of another $5,000 plus attorney’s fees, court costs, and other legal expenses.
Period to file your claim
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees have two years to file claims on unpaid wages, three years, if the employer’s act was willful or reckless. Under New York law, however, an employee has 6 years to file a claim for unpaid wages under breach of contract.
Should you have issues regarding your last paycheck not being released, whether you are a weekly or bi-monthly worker, an independent contractor, or a salesperson on a commission basis, consult with a last paycheck lawyer in New York for your options. Should you need assistance, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. We are located in New York, NY. You can call us at 212-233-1233 or send us an email at [email protected].