When you leave a job — whether by choice or because of termination — you are still entitled to the wages you earned in the previous weeks. Your former employer must send your final paycheck in a certain amount of time as required by law, with few exceptions.
When Should I Receive My Final Paycheck?
The exact timeline and method for receiving a final paycheck will vary between states. In the state of Tennessee, the Wage Regulations Act orders that employers must issue a final paycheck — in full — to a dismissed employee upon the next payday following their leave. Or, if applicable, the paycheck must be received within 21 days of the date the employee left. Whichever day arrives sooner is when the employee should be paid.
How Should I Receive My Final Paycheck?
In general, final paychecks are issued in a paper form. Although you may have been receiving your pay via direct deposit while employed, final paychecks are usually mailed or picked up. If valid, your final paycheck should include compensation for any unused vacation days or other forms of paid time off.
What if I Was Fired?
Termination does not excuse your employer from adhering to final paycheck laws. Regardless of the details of you leaving your job, you must receive your final paycheck on the date of the next pay period or within 21 days. Some states do have laws that establish different final paycheck terms if an employee was fired, but Tennessee is not one of them. The timeline is the same in instances of termination and an employee quitting.
Can My Former Employer Hold My Paycheck for Any Reason?
The only reason an employer can keep a paycheck after the legal limit is if the employee agreed — in writing — to return a uniform, piece of equipment, or complete another responsibility upon leaving the job before being paid. These agreements are usually established upon hiring and must be agreed upon before the employee is fired or quits.
If you left a job or were fired and have not received your paycheck within the legally mandated time period, contact Donati Law, PLLC. Our legal team represents the rights of workers and is prepared to help you recover the compensation you deserve. In cases of an unpaid final paycheck, employees are often entitled to other funds in addition to the amount of the last paycheck. This may include back pay, payment for unused vacation time, or reimbursement for the cost of filing a claim. We can help you identify the wage and hour violations committed by your employer and hold them accountable.
To schedule a no-cost case evaluation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (901) 209-5500.