Discharged Employees and Final Wages

Missouri follows the Employment-At-Will doctrine. This means that both the employer and employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, as long as there is no employment contract to the contrary, there is no discrimination under civil rights laws (based on race, color, age, national origin, religion, ancestry, sex, or physical/mental disability), no merit laws apply, or the state’s limited public policy exception does not apply. If you feel you have been discriminated against while on a job or while applying for a job, you have the right to file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.

Employers are required to pay a discharged employee all wages due at the time of dismissal. If not paid at that time, the employee should contact his or her former employer by certified mail return receipt requested, requesting wages that are due. The employer has seven days to respond to the written request. If the employer does not pay the wages due within the seven days, it will be liable for additional wages to the employee until he or she is finally paid for up to sixty days. The employee may bring a private legal action to collect the wages due. (Under the law establishing this procedure, the state of Missouri does not have authority to collect wages for the employee.) If the amount due in back wages is less than $5,000, workers may file their claims in small claims court, where costs are less and it is easier to proceed without hiring private legal counsel. Individuals attempting to recover amounts above $5,000 should pursue a private right of action in circuit court.

Terminate an employee?

Employers must notify the Family Support Division within 10 days of terminating an employee under wage withholdings