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Can my employer hold my last check until I return my uniform?

Dallas, PA |

I work for a beer distributor promoting beers, and we are given t-shirts to wear for the different beers. I was just fired, and told that I can "pick up my last paycheck when I return my t-shirts." I never signed any contract stating that these are to be returned upon my termination, and I feel like he is doing this out of spite. They are used, worn t-shirts that would never be given to another employee to wear. Is this legal?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. The law does not give a 100% clear answer here in my view and this will have to be fought in Court, but it is likely Employer loses. Employer is taking a big risk as Wage Payment and Collection Law provides for failure to issue pay liquidated damages of 25% and your attorneys fees paid on top. If there is no policy here, which I assume there is not, the Employer may be in for a world of pain for its poor choice here in conditioning last check on getting back some used beer t-shirts.


  2. I am an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the States of Delaware and New Jersey. My practice includes employment, business and health care law. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies.

    That being said, I do not believe that the law permits the employer's actions here. The Wage Payment and Collection Law permits 'withholding' of pay in certain circumstances, but returns of T-Shirts that were apparently not employer property is not one of them. You should contact the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (a bureau of the PA Dept. of Labor) or an employment attorney. It may not be worth the hassle, however - in the end, it is a few beer logo T-shirts.

    /Christopher E. Ezold/

    The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
    Employment, Business and Health Law
    One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
    (610) 660-5585
    Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com
    www.ezoldlaw.com

    I am an attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the States of Delaware and New Jersey. My practice includes employment, business and health care law. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies. /Christopher E. Ezold/ The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. Employment, Business and Health Law One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 660-5585 Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com www.ezoldlaw.com

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