Is it legal for am employer to dock your pay because you did not wait till break to use the restroom

My son’s boss keeps docking his pay for
stupid little things like being 8 min.
Late coming back from a job sight or
small things like that. The latest
being docking him 10 min because he did
not wait till his break time to use the
restroom.

Asked on April 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, this is illegal, and your son could file a complaint with the state department of labor for the docked time. An employer may *never* dock employee time or pay (e.g. the law requires accurate time records and that employees be paid for all time worked) except 1) if the employee consents or agrees to it (such as part of a plan to repay a loan from the employer), or 2) as specifically required by law (like court ordered wage garnishment for child support). The employer cannot punish your son by taking time from him, and may owe him the back pay or money. 
That said, your son does not need to bear in mind that while what is being done is illegal, the legal things the employer could do to punish him are worse: the employer could terminate him at will, for any reason, if he does not have a written employment contract preventing termination; or if it does not terminate him, could suspend him, reduce his hours going forward, cut his hourly rate (as long as he still earns at least minimum wage), etc. The only thing it can't do is the one thing it is: docking pay. So while legally they are wrong, it may be that practically, your son is better off than if the employer does the legal things they could do for being tardy or late.


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