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When Does Employment End? Former Worker Says Last Check Was Late


A discharged employee waited a week for his final paycheck. Did that violate state law?

Scott Knous began working for Massachusetts financial technology company Broadridge Financial Solutions in 2018 on an at-will basis.

About a year after he started working for the company, a vice president of human resources and a managing director told him in a meeting that the company was eliminating his position.

Job Duties End

At the meeting, they also told him to return his company-issued cell phone and laptop immediately. They also had him return his keycard badge and clean out his desk. And they told him to stop performing his work duties immediately and stop reporting to work. That meeting happened on a Friday that preceded a regularly scheduled payday by exactly one week.

A week later, on the regularly scheduled payday, the company paid him everything he was due, including accrued vacation pay. Under Massachusetts law, employers must pay discharged workers all they are due on the day of discharge.

Knous sued Broadridge, alleging that it broke the law by not paying him on the day of the meeting.

Broadridge argued that the discharge did not occur until the payday on which Knous was paid.

A lower court ruled for Broadridge, and Knous appealed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the ruling in Broadridge's favor in Knous v. Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (case).

Nothing in the [Massachusetts Wage Act] suggests that the legislature also wanted to require employers to have employees do work until the day of their official discharge. Simply put, we cannot imagine that the legislature sought to punish Broadridge because it gave Knous prior notice of the day on which his pay and benefits would cease, plus full paid time off through that day.

Posted In: Quit, Resigned, Termination of Employment, etc.

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