Unpaid Wages & Sample Demand Letter
Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (Hammond Office, including information about applying for help online)
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I've lost my job. When should I get my last paycheck?
Whether you were fired, laid off, or resigned, your employer must pay you all amounts due, either by the next regular payday, or no later than 15 days after your last day at work, whichever is first. You are due all wages, earned vacation pay, and any other amounts your employer has agreed to pay you or you are entitled to by your employer's policies. You can find this law in Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 23, at 23:631. These laws are in most libraries.
My boss agrees he owes me most of the money I want, but he says he doesn't owe me part of it. Does he have to pay me what he agrees he owes me?
Yes. Any part that he agrees you are owed, must be paid when due.
Can my employer take money out of my last paycheck?
Your employer should make the usual deductions - for example, for taxes. Some employers take out more money from a last paycheck, saying money is owed for breaking or taking something, or for another reason. This may or may not be legal. You should speak with a lawyer if you do not agree with it.
My employer has not paid me on time. What can I do about it?
You can ask your employer for your money in writing. You may want to talk with a lawyer first. Keep a copy of your letter. If you have to go to court to get your money, you may need to show the letter to the judge. If your employer will not pay, try to get a lawyer to ask for the money for you. If you have to go to court to get your money, and win, the judge should make your employer pay your lawyer's fees. The judge should also make your employer pay you extra money as a penalty. You can usually sue your employer in the Justice of Peace, City or State District Court where you live. If you can't find a lawyer, you can often do it on your own. Many courts have forms that are easy to use. Here is a sample letter, but it may not be right for your case. You can use the form printed here or you can click here or on the picture at the end of the print version of the letter to use the computer to help you fill in the information for your letter. To use the form you must have a first and last name for your ex-employer. If you get a "popup blocker" message or have other trouble with the link, you may need to hold down the Control or "CTRL" key while clicking on the link. Click here for tips about using the website with the online documents.
SAMPLE DEMAND LETTER FOR UNPAID WAGESYour name Your Street Address Your City, State, and ZIP Code
Dear [EMPLOYER'S NAME]:
My job ended on [put here the day of your firing, lay-off or resignation]. More than 15 days have passed since then and you still owe me money for my work. You owe me at least [put here the amount you believe you are owed]. I ask for immediate payment of the amount due. If you do not pay this in full, you may become liable for payment of all costs and attorney's fees if I have to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit to get what you owe me. You may also be liable for payment of additional money as a penalty, as well as legal interest.
If you believe you do not owe me the full amount I have stated, but only a part of it, the law requires you to pay me immediately the amount you agree you owe me. You should also tell me the reason why you are not paying the full amount.
Please send the amount due me to my current address: [put your address here]
Sincerely, ________________________ [Your signature and printed name]