If I owe my employer money, can they just take it out of my paycheck?

My employer made a mistake on my AFLAC deduction. Their fault, not mine. They now say I owe them over $1,200. They are pressuring me to agree to pay the money back. They said that they would take it out of my paycheck. What is my legal rights here? I’m OK with paying back if legally required, it’s just that I can’t afford to do anything but pay a little each week.

Asked on October 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you consented to such a deduction in writing, your employer is not legally allowed to take money out of your paycheck. While you may owe your employer the money, it can either work a out a repayment arrangement with you or even sue you in court, but it cannot arbitrarily deduct from your wages you would need to give your permission for this to be done. I
If you feel that your rights are being violated, you can consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area and/or file a complaint with your state's department of labor.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.