Can an employer deduct money from your paycheck for mistakes made?

I have been working as a newspaper carrier and they have been deducting money from my paycheck every time there is a complaint at the rate of $3 on weekdays and $5 on weekends. Even mistakes that are not under my control I am charged for. I do not feel that this is right because every document on employment law I can find says that it is illegal to deduct wages from an employee. They will also not give me a breakdown of how I am paid because they claim there is not one so I am not able to check to make sure I am being paid the right amount either.

Asked on October 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your employer (a newspaper) cannot deduct monies from you because there is a complaint. You are paid to deliver newspapers; and if you do that act, the employer cannot deduct wages. Other options are available for your employer like reducing your wages, but only if they do not go below minimum wage; suspending your employment or firing you. They can write you up but you would have optios in this situation, as well. It appears your employer is the judge and executioner and has no business doing this. Immediately contact your state's labor department and file a complaint. You cannot be fired in retaliaton and you may be able to file it as an anonymous person. Also consider quietly looking for other employment, in the interim.

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