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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsSeptember 3, 2010

What can I do if my former employer is claiming I was fired and is now withholding my final paycheck?

I actually quit my job in Minnesota after I injured my knee.
Did you quit or were you fired? Your query mentions both, and it affects your ability to collect unemployment insurance. Also, your rights can be affected by whether the company followed the proper termination procedures--both by law and by the terms of any employee manual.

Just firing you because you had a hurt knee doesn't seem fair, but I've no way of knowing what kind of history you have with this company and what kinds of adverse comments (if any) may be sitting in your personnel file.

But the short of it is this: termination papers are legal documents. They will likely outline what you're entitled to receive in the way of severance pay (if any), what continuing obligations you have (such as keeping certain company info confidential) and any other company responsibilities.

You have a right to have these documents reviewed by an attorney of your choosing prior to signing them. Have the papers sent to you and review them with a local attorney who is familiar with Minnesota employment law before signing. The attorney may be able to negotiate a better deal for you, depending on the circumstances.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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