Failure to Pay Wages Due at Termination
Losing your job can be a difficult experience. Not only do you need to consider where your next paycheck will come from, but it is also important to remain aware of your rights as a worker, even after termination.
Just because an employer has fired an employee does not mean that the relationship comes to an end. State law says that an employer must still provide payment for all time spent on the clock until the moment of termination. Further, this payment must take place no more than 15 days after the date of the firing.
Unfortunately, employers may not know about this law or may intentionally attempt to avoid payment. In these situations, workers have the right to demand their pay, either through private negotiations or in court.
If you had your wages stolen, hours falsified, or experienced any other wage violation, professional legal help is available. Call today to speak with legal counsel about your unique case and what you could do to pursue the compensation you deserve.
State Rules on Final Paychecks
The state’s rules on regular payment to employees, including final payments, are found under Ohio Revised Code Title 41 § 4113.15. Generally, paychecks are supposed to be paid at least twice a month. The first paycheck of each month should reflect work performed during the first half of the previous month up until the 15th day.
The second paycheck is to be paid 15 days later for work performed during the second half of the preceding month. This rule also applies to final wages, which employers should pay on the next regular payday, or within 15 days of termination, whichever would be the quickest.
State law provides for some exceptions to this rule, however. If it is common practice in a profession to pay on a different schedule, employers can follow that instead. A different pay schedule can also be negotiated and included in an employment contract. If someone’s former employer failed to pay his or her wages upon termination, he or she may be able to hold them accountable. A local attorney can help file a claim and advise an aggrieved worker on how to protect his or her rights going forward.
Can an Employer Deduct from a Final Paycheck?
Employers are not permitted to deduct money from an employee’s final paycheck unless the employee expressly authorizes it, or it has been a standard deduction. For instance, an employer cannot deduct the cost of a set of keys to the building if an employee forgets to turn in the ones they used while employed.
Some deductions are authorized, and employers can deduct them from an employee’s final paycheck. These deductions include:
Former employees who were not paid upon or after being terminated should consult an attorney who practices in Ohio area before filing a claim to help them reach their goals.
Ohio Department of Labor’s Role
The Ohio Department of Labor provides employees with an easy-to-understand document on its website explaining how to submit a claim for wage violations after leaving a company, including failure to pay a final paycheck on time and making unauthorized deductions. The Labor Department investigates allegations of wage theft and determines whether they are valid. If valid, employers could be forced to pay the disputed wages, additional money to the former employee as damages, and a possible fine.
Pursuing Fair Restitution for Recoverable Damages
If an employer in Ohio 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 Ohio 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.