What can I do if my payroll check bounced?
What recourse do I have if my Michigan employer's payroll checks bounce. What can I do if they still owe me 3 weeks back pay?
You want to report this to the wage & hour division of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth which has an office in Livonia, MI at 33523 W. 8 Mile Road, Ste. B-1, telephone 313-456-4906.
In most states there are wages laws that essentially state that the employer is required to pay you at least bi-weekly. If the employer fails to pay you and/or bounces check- which is equivalent to not paying you, then you have the right to file a claim with the labor department and then file a claim against the employer. In some states you can obtain double or even triple damages, plus the recovery of any and all attorney's fees and costs that you incurred. I suggest that you ask your employer how long until the mistake is fixed and if he gives you the runaround, file your claim with the labor department and hire a lawyer to go after him as this is not right. If you do this however, you are putting yourself at risk of being fired at a later date. However, employers cannot fire employees for making labor claims against them as it exposes the employer to wrongful termination claims.
Note that if checks are bouncing, the issue may not simply be a violation of wage and hour law (i.e. not paying on a timely fashion); instead, it could represent either fraud (the money is being stolen or diverted; the company, or at least the executive writing the checks, is writing them knowing they will bounce to just keep the ball in the air a little while longer while the theft goes on), and/or serious financial problems (the company simply can't afford to pay and it's cash flow is so erratic and on the edge that it doesn't even know whether or not a given check will be honored).
That being the case, while you should follow my colleagues' suggestions to file a claim with the dept. of labor, you need to also prepare yourself for the fact that there may be no money to recover. If the employer is a sole proprietor or a partnership, you may be able to ultimately make a claim against or sue the owners; however, if it's an LLC or corporaton, if the business itself has no funds, or insufficient assets to pay off secured creditors as pay employees, you may not be in a position to actually recover anything.
Definitely act sooner rather than later; in cases of fraud or financial distress, the faster you file a claim (or sue, if it becomes worth it based on how much you are owed), the more likely you are to recover something.