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Employer won't pay me my final pay because of our contract

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  • Employer won't pay me my final pay because of our contract

    In our contract it states that my employer can terminate employment at any time but I must give 30 days notice. It does not state what will happen if I don't provide the 30 day notice, only that my paycheck will be withheld until all equipment is returned. Due to circumstances, I provided only 2 weeks notice, though on the date if notice my contract was up the next week. My last worked day was August 22, 2014. In his emails he has stated that he will not pay me, it has been over two months. I contacted wage and labor and they said since I was a private teacher, they couldn't help me. Does anyone know where to start or if he can even withhold my paycheck? He also has not been very nice and is demanding that I contact him by phone which I have no intention of doing. Thank you for any insight!

  • #2
    If by "private teacher" you mean "independent contractor" then it's true, the DOL can't help you. If you are an independent contractor, I recommend that you do the following:

    1. Have your contract reviewed by an attorney to determine whether or not your former client should pay you, based on the terms of the contract.

    1. If you should be paid, sue your former client in small claims court.


    • #3
      I was an employee but not a teacher with a school district. There is no reference to pay being withheld unless the employee has equipment, which I already turned it. The contract states that I must give thirty days notice, but does not state anything beyond that (no pay, nothing). My contract was also up prior to thirty days and during the two week notice. I have left a message with PA Labor and Industry which the Hour and a Wages referred me to (because I am a teacher or tutor). I suppose I will have to contact an attorney. Thanks!


      • #4
        Were you an employee - as in, you get a W-2 at year end, and had taxes withheld from each paycheck? Or did he pay you in full, based on an invoice or timesheet?

        If you had taxes taken out, I would certainly follow up on a wage claim with the state. You are entitled to your pay within a certain timeframe after your last day.

        If not, I would follow what eerelations said.

        I am not clear why you won't speak to him on the phone to resolve this.


        • #5
          Yes, taxes were taken out, W2 received, etc. I was an employee. I will not talk to him on the phone because in three different emails he has said incredibly negative and disrespectful things. I have no desire to talk to him on the phone, what? so he can barrate me without it being written down? There is no reason that I can find as to why I do not deserve my paycheck. He has stated in his emails he will not pay me solely because I did not provide 30 days notice, although again there is nothing stipulating what happens if 30 days is not given. I think I will talk to an attorney and even look at harassment charges as well. Thanks for helping me walk through it.


          • #6
            Focus on the levers that may work.

            One cannot sidestep wage payment law by contract in pa.....but that doesn't really matter.

            IF you were an employee .as per your post you were...file a formal written wage payment complaint with Pa DOl ..steps and forms are on line .

            That step is critical to lock in your statutory right to recover attorney fees IF the department does not move the ball forward and you go the private attorney route . In many cases the attorney fees may be larger than the wages in question.

            Whether or not your 30 day notice provision hold up is a matter for,debate but per your post you returned the property in question.

            Local school districts in Pa are units of state government ...I frankly don't know if any sovereign immunity issues apply..but for now Id just proceed to a written complaint via PA DOL L&I steps.


            • #7
              Be careful about following any of Raster's advice, it can be misleading at best.

              If you don't want to go the DOL route you can still sue in small claims court and you definitely don't need an attorney for that.

              Regarding harassment charges, you may only claim harassment if said harassment is illegal. Harassment is only illegal if it's based specifically and directly on things like your race, gender, age, religion, disability and/or you filing complaints of criminal misconduct to judicial or regulatory authorities. Nothing in your posts indicate that you are being harassed for any of these reasons.


              • #8
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


                • #9
                  The Sec of Labor in PA is charged with enforcement of the wage payment law..and that is via the DOL..L&I
                  So why not use same ?

                  True you can easily file in DJ wo counsel ...but in PA it is very very easy for a loser to file a prompt appeal and the matter is heard in court of common pleas.. de novo and as a layperson its unlikley you can muddle thru that level well wo counsel.

                  The major protections and leverage as to attorney fees, liquidated damages etc are part of the wage payment law ...and irrespective of the steps or route you take I very strongly suggest you sue or act so as to hook the protections of that body of law.

                  Technically you have up to 3 years to file a wage claim in PA but I Suggest it is unwise and unnecessary to wait any such time .

                  makes no sense to me that a major public sector employer is dragging out final pay is pretty is due next pay there something else going on....? .


                  • #10
                    BTW there actually is commentary about the enforceability of 30 day notice provisions in PA but only if is a two way street which you say your contract is not ..and I don't think the 30 day provision is at the core of whatever your problem may be..


                    • #11
                      I am not so sure you can sue a unit of state government in DJ court..I think they lack jurisdiction..and the same may be true of common pleas may need to sue a school district in commonwealth court in PA .

                      At the very least..check it out.


                      • #12
                        Again, OP, please ignore Raster's input here - it is misleading and sometimes downright wrong.


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