Reader TS writes: "I return to the U.S. next week and I was supposed to receive my final pay check from a really bad ALT company . . . last week, but did not receive payment. I've called them but the secretaries say that the people in charge are not in the office. I called my direct contact and he has yet to call me back.

"I've read on the Internet that with your last pay check this company will try and avoid paying you since the pay date is so close to when you have to return to your home country, and that when you return they will try and avoid all contact with you. I'm going to keep calling them, but somehow I worry that it is futile."

It is not unusual for a last paycheck to be withheld. Often there are expenses that an employee has incurred, such as rent from a company-provided apartment, health insurance, pension premiums and so on. Often these are deducted from a final paycheck. At the same time — especially in these economically tight times — some companies will try to avoid paying for that final month.