Can my former employer make me return a prize before giving me my final paycheck?
Question Details: They won't give me my paycheck because they said that I have to return a prize I had won at the Christmas party.
As a general matter, the law is clear that employee paychecks may not be withheld without employee consent. Employees whose checks are improperly withheld may sue for them (e.g. in small claims court). So the issue is whether that contract you mention constitutes your consent to have the check withheld unless you return the prize. If it can be shown that you signed the contract and that it states something to the effect that your check may be withheld until and unless you return the prize, they may withhold the check until you do.
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