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?
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.
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.
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.