When you receive your paycheck, you may review the paystub and find that there are payroll deductions. Payroll deductions are amounts withheld from a worker’s paycheck by the employer.
These deductions may include wage assignments, insurance premiums, pension contributions, child support payments, uniforms, union dues, and taxes.
You should always review your paystubs and check for any deductions. Question any deductions that do not look familiar or that you were not expecting from your paycheck.
Laws On Pay Deductions
Under federal law, almost any deduction made from your paycheck would be permissible. There are laws that protect employees from being taken advantage of.
States often enact additional employment laws, which indicate what can and cannot be deducted from your paycheck.
Usually, an employer cannot deduct items that would be considered for the benefits or the convenience of the employer if it would cause the worker’s pay to be reduced to lower than the minimum wage requirements.
As an example, they cannot deduct the cost of uniforms that are required by the employer that can only be worn on the job, tools that are used to do the employee’s job, compensation for financial losses experienced by the company because of customers failing to pay their bills, compensation for theft from the employer by the employee or by others.
Many states regulate wage deductions more strictly than the federal government does. An employer may deduct reasonable costs.
Reasonable costs include those deductions that are legally authorized or those that are voluntarily authorized by the employee and for the employee’s benefit.
Federal law authorizes certain deductions, such as housing and transportation, meals, debts owed to the employer, garnishment for debts owed to third parties, debts owed to the government, alimony, and child support.
What Steps You Need to Take
If you believe your employer is illegally deducting items from your paycheck, you should file a complaint. You will need to address the problem promptly, so you can recoup your losses.
You are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). The FLSA states that an employer cannot make deductions from the employee’s checks for items or payments that are primarily for the benefit of the employer.
Title III of the CCPA limits how much of an employee’s earnings can be garnished. It also protects an employee from termination if pay is garnished for only one debt.
If your deductions violate either of those laws, it will be viewed as wage theft and you can pursue a claim to recover your losses.
You should also research the state laws because they may offer you different approaches at resolving the matter.
There could be even stricter guidelines that your employer must follow because of the state laws where you work. An employment law attorney will help you get your claim on the right track.
There is a statute of limitations, or a limited time, for pursuing a wage theft claim. If you wait longer than two years, you are not going to be able to recover damages.
Your claim would be dismissed. An employment law attorney will help you gather supporting evidence and ensure your claim has a strong foundation.
With the help of an attorney, you are more likely to recover damages through a wage theft claim against your employer.
You will start the process by filling out a claim form and submitting it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC will investigate your claim and they will talk with your employer. They will work to resolve the matter.
If they cannot get the matter settled, they will suggest that you file a lawsuit against your employer and ask to be compensated for your damages and your legal fees.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been subjected to having illegal and unapproved deductions from your paycheck, you should speak with an employment law attorney who handles wage theft cases in your state.
An attorney will investigate your claim, gather supporting evidence and documentation, and then help you pursue a claim for your damages. Your lawyer will be able to determine the total of your losses.
Some employment law attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, but there are others who will require a retainer. Be sure to discuss the payment methods when you meet with the attorney.
If you are a victim of wage theft, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to get your claim underway.