Can an employer hold money out of an employee’s check for the amount owed by a customer?

My brother-in-law works for a company as a salesman on salary, as well as doing several other jobs while at work. One of his customers owes a past due amount. Can his employer hold that money out of my brother-in-law’s check?


Asked on November 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You did not give much by way of details as to this situation. What I can tell you is that MO does not have any laws regarding what deductions may or may not be taken from an employees paycheck (or whether an employee must provide written consent prior to any deduction being made). Accordingly, an employer can withhold or deduct wages from an employees pay check for:

  • dishonored or returned checks
  • cash shortages
  • breakage, damage, or loss of employer property
  • required tools/uniforms
  • other items necessary for employment

All of the above presumes that such a deduction was not prohibited by existing company policy or violate any term or condition of an employment contract or union agreement. Nor can your brother-in-law's treatment be the result of actionable discrimination.

If there are any further questions, he can consult directly with an employment law attorney in his area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.