Paychecks And Uncooperative Employers

27 Apr Paychecks And Uncooperative Employers

Bankruptcy filers must provide paycheck information (“pay advice”) to a trustee covering the 60 days before a filing, and also must provide their attorneys with income information for the six months before a filing (including gross pay and often detailed paycheck deductions) for means test calculations. An uncooperative former employer makes this difficult.

Employment may have ended on a bad note, for personality reasons or differences in expectations. The client did not keep paystubs, and now the employer will not cooperate. The W-2 for tax returns doesn’t help, since it is for a different period of time. What to do?

Buried in your state’s wage statutes might be a requirement for an employer to make wage information available to any employee. In Massachusetts, the “reasonable access” requirement is found at GLM chapter 151 section 15.

The truly uncooperative employer will want the employee to stop by the previous place of employment, obviously uncomfortable to the client, and write down the necessary information without making a copier available or offering to mail the information.

I believe that reasonable access means a mailing to the person of the client’s choice, and I cannot imagine any judge would accept otherwise. If structured properly, damages and attorney fees could be recovered for the former employer’s stubbornness.

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L. Jed Berliner practices exclusively in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, and related consumer protection litigation such as credit card defenses and suing debt collectors. He established his Springfield, MA practice in 1988. Attorney Berliner is a regular and active contributor to the Bankruptcy Law Network, the Bankruptcy Roundtable, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, three specialized consumer bankruptcy forums on the Internet, and is an informal mentor to regional practitioners. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in consumer bankruptcy issues. He thoroughly enjoys being rated "excellent" in his client surveys.

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