Is it legal for my previous boss to withhold my paycheck because I have not yet returned my work shirt?

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Is it legal for my previous boss to withhold my paycheck because I have not yet returned my work shirt?

Asked on June 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Under federal law, an employer can make paycheck deductions for any unreturned property, as long as the deductions do not reduce an employee's pay below the federal minimum wage. However, many states have their own laws regarding the withholding a final paycheck, so doing so may violate the laws of your jurisdiction. 

Additionally, federal law does not require employers to give employees their final paycheck immediately. This can allow your employer to withhold your final paycheck until you return their property. However, most states are stricter on this and specify when a final paycheck is due by. 

Note: If your state prohibits paycheck deductions, your employer is still entitled to its property. If you do not return that property promptly, you can be sued. 

What you can do know it contact your state's Department of Labor or Attorney General's Office for more specific information. You can also place a call into an employment law attorney or google for more information.


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