Ca my ex-employer withhold my paycheck because I haven’t returned 4 shirts and the building key card?

Asked on March 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When you leave a job (whether you quit or are fired) and still have property that belongs to your employer, you may end up paying for it. Federal law allows an employer to make deductions from a final paycheck for any unreturned property, so long as the deduction does not reduce the employee's pay below the federal minimum wage. Additionally, federal law does not require that an employer give its employees a final paycheck immediately. Therefore, an employer can withhold a final paycheck until an employee returns its property.
That having been said, either making a paycheck deduction or withholding a final paycheck may violate state laws since many have laws that either restrict or prohibit paycheck deductions. Also, most states specify when a final paycheck is due. 
Be aware that even if your state prohibits such deductions, your employer is still entitled to its property, so if you don't return it you can be sued in court.

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