is it legal for a company to charge you for being late to work?

Recently, my husbands company started charging its employees a cash fee if they
are late to work in the morning. Is this legal?

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

So long as this action does not violate the terms of an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement, it is perfectly permissable. The fact is that most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination. This includes how to discipline its workers for tardiness. The only caveat here is that the company cannot make a deduction for this penalty from your husband's paycheck; it must collect the fine seperately, which appears to be exactly what it is doing.

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