Deductions from An Employee’s Pay Check – General Prohibition against Employer “Self Help”

In California, employers generally have no right to withhold or deduct any part of the employee’s wages except in specific, limited situations, including:

  • If a law permits or requires deductions (e.g. income taxes, social security, Medicare, etc.).
  • If the employer can prove that the employee’s dishonesty, willful misconduct or gross negligence caused the loss, damage or shortage to the employer.
  • If the deduction is authorized in writing, and the money is conveyed to a third party for the benefit of the employee (e.g. health insurance premiums, 401K payments).

An unresolved issue is whether an employer can unilaterally – and without the employee’s specific agreement – withhold wages to recover an employee debt, such as a loan or an advance to purchase equipment. One court stated that an employer cannot accelerate the debt payment and collect the balance on the debt in one lump sum from the employee’s final paycheck.

An interesting dilemma arises for an employer who accidentally overpays an employee. The employer can deduct the overpayment from the employee’s next paycheck only if the employee authorizes the specific deduction in writing. If the employee does not agree, then an employer is required to comply with California’s garnishment and attachment laws and cannot engage in ‘self-help’ to the employee’s wages.

Read more

wrongful termination attorney

Cheesecake Factory sued for firing worker in retaliation for discrimination complaint

A former Cheesecake Factory employee filed a wrongful termination and retaliation lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the popular restaurant chain. She was allegedly fired in retaliation for complaining about a…

READ ARTICLE
disability discrimination lawyer

LAPD officer wins $1 million in disability discrimination lawsuit

Just because an employee has a disability does not mean they must stop working. Under the law, employees with disabilities have a right to keep their jobs and seek damages against employers…

READ ARTICLE
wage violation lawyer

Sushi restaurant ordered to pay almost $30,000 in back wages to cooks

Employers looking to cut corners may sometimes think they can get away with not paying employees all the wages they have earned. Not only does such behavior result in employees missing out…

READ ARTICLE
wage theft lawyer

Senior care facility fined for wage theft after state investigation

Employees in certain industries are required to work overtime or be on call. Under California law, they must be paid for all time spent working beyond their regular hours. Employers are also…

READ ARTICLE
SEEN ON
bloomberg
sfgate
kpix
cnnmoney
marin-ij
dailypost
news10