Can an ex-employer hold my last paycheck for this?

My former employer is stating that there were hours that were overpaid to me and another employee was issued a company credit card which was used to buy work related items for on the job items. The employee was also told that there was a $15 a day per person that could be spent on food. We have both left this company and the employer refused to pay us our last paychecks stating that we abused the company credit card and that we were overpaid on our hours. I was not issued a company card and did not sign anything to do with said card. The employer is stating that we must repay it as a team. I never once used the card and it was issued to the other employee with their name on the card. Can the employer come after me even though I never used the card or signed anything to do with the company credit card agreement?

Asked on March 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) *You* are not responsible "as a team"--you are only responsible for any overpayments to you or credit card misuse by *you.*
2) Even if you did owe the employer money for overpayment (e.g. being paid for more time than you actually worked) or credit card misuse, the employer may NOT simply take the money out of your pay or withhold your last paycheck: the law is very clear that employee pay may only be withheld or deducted as required by law (e.g. court-ordered wage garnishment) or with employee consent. The employer's option to recover money it feels you owe it is to sue you for the money.
3) Since the employer had no right to take your final check and is trying to withhold it for things you are not responsible for, you could sue the employer (for example, in small claims court on a "pro se," or as your own attorney, basis to save legal costs) for the money they owe you.


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