Can a business owner tamper with employee checks?

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Can a business owner tamper with employee checks?

I’m in a bad spot. The owner of the office that I work for has, on
multiple occasions, missed our pay date. Not only that, but he’s taking
money from my check for a personal debt, not a business debt. Am I right
in assuming that these are unethical business practices? And what do I
do if I have case?

Asked on July 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot not make a paycheck deduction from an employee's check without the employee's express consent. It doesn't mean that you don't owe them the money, it just means that they cannot use your paycheck to re-pay themselves. At this point, you can file a wage claim with your state's department of labor and/or sue them in small claims court (but it may probably not worth the cost to sue). As for missing your pay date, there's not much you can do as a practical matter for late paychecks, however if you have not been paid at all, you can do as instructed above.


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