Most employers are aware of the employee at-will doctrine, whereby a worker can be terminated at any time for any reason, other than for a basis which violates state or federal law. Because of this rule, wrongful termination is a difficult claim for ex-employees to prove in North Carolina. However – while employers generally can fire non-contract employees – there are still proper measures associated with the act of termination. Failure to abide by these procedures can expose employers to liability under the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, a statute with stiff penalties for employers.
Following the NC Wage and Hour Act
Business owners in violation of the Wage and Hour Act expose themselves to double damages – if they cannot show good faith in their violation of the Act – as well as the attorney fees of the employee, costs, and potentially even personal liability on the part of the company owner.
North Carolina requires employers to pay terminated employees any outstanding wages in a timely fashion. Specifically, on or before their next regular payday either through regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee. Any wages based on bonuses, commissions or other forms of calculation must be paid on the first regular payday after the amount becomes calculable. Essentially, if the employee is not paid any wages due and owing in full by the next pay period, they violate the Wage and Hour Act. If you are a small LLC running its own payroll, do not make the mistake of delaying the employee’s last paycheck.
Representation for Terminated Employees
If you are an employer with employee wage issues – or an ex-employee who has not promptly received their final paycheck – contact Maginnis Law, PLLC to discuss your options. Maginnis Law, PLLC is a Raleigh civil litigation firm with trial attorneys taking cases for terminated employees across North Carolina. Contact the firm at (919) 526-0450 or visit our contact page to schedule an initial consultation with a civil lawyer.