Even if you work only a single shift or workday between the start of a pay period and your last day of employment, your employer still owes you the money you earned for the time you put in on his or her behalf. However, despite the fact that state law reinforces this requirement, far too many employers still make recently terminated employees deal with unreasonable delays in getting their final paychecks—if they even send them that last paycheck at all.

Failure to pay wages due at termination in Cleveland may serve as grounds for legal action against your former employer, but you may struggle to effectively pursue a positive outcome alone. With guidance from a dedicated wage theft lawyer, your chances could be much better for a successful claim and possibly the recovery of additional damages beyond just backpay.

Can Employers Withhold Wages Following Termination?

Providing final wage or salary payments to terminated workers is not just a matter of decency and business sense in the state of Ohio. State law explicitly sets out guidelines and time limits for when employers must pay their workers on a semimonthly basis, and those guidelines remain applicable whether a worker continues to work for the same employer or has just been terminated for any reason.

Specifically, Ohio Revised Code § 4113.15 states that recently terminated workers must receive their final paycheck for hours or days worked during their last pay period on the job within 15 days of their last workday or on the next regularly scheduled payday. If an employer terminates a worker’s employment by firing him or her, the employer owes that worker a final paycheck on whichever of those two dates comes before the other.

Under no circumstances can employers hold back a final paycheck for longer than 15 days, pay only part of the final paycheck by that time, or make deductions from that paycheck that are not required by law or agreed-upon deductions like 401k contributions. Furthermore, if an employee is terminated without having used all of his or her accrued paid time off (PTO), the employer often owes him or her compensation equal to the value of remaining PTO.

Pursuing Fair Restitution for Recoverable Damages

If an employer in Cleveland fails to pay wages due at termination, the worker impacted by his or her former employer’s misconduct may be entitled to damages beyond just backpay. Employers who delay payment of wages or salary due at termination for more than 30 days after the applicable worker’s termination date, that employer may owe additional “liquidated damages” of $200 or six percent of backpay, whichever allows for greater recovery.

In certain circumstances, employers in Cleveland found liable for a violation of wage and hour law regarding final paychecks may have to pay for an impacted worker’s attorney’s fees as well. Knowledgeable legal counsel can go into more detail about potentially recoverable compensation on a case-by-case basis.

A Cleveland Attorney Could Help with a Failure to Pay Wages Due at Termination Lawsuit

Between the final few shifts or days you worked and the value of unused PTO, your employer may still owe you quite a bit of money following the conclusion of your employment. If your old employer fails to send you what you are owed in a timely fashion, you should not rule out filing a claim with the Department of Labor and taking legal action to recover your hard-earned wages.

If you would like to explore your legal options in light of a failure to pay wages due at termination in Cleveland, a wage and hour lawyer is available to meet you and discuss your unique situation. Call Tittle & Perlmuter today to learn more.

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