Can my employer take my entire paycheck for a damage that they have no proof is my fault?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can my employer take my entire paycheck for a damage that they have no proof is my fault?

I was recently terminated from a company this past Friday 8/16/2019. Yesterday I received an email stating they have deducted my entire paycheck for damaged equipment. The damage was not my fault, and they have no way to prove it is my fault. I feel there are multiple things wrong with this because the damage was

caused by another worker several months ago. Also, they deducted my entire paycheck. If I am not mistaken there are limits on how much they can deduct. Finally, they have not responded to any of my calls or emails regarding this issue.

Asked on August 23, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

What they did is illegal. Employers cannot deduct ANY money from an employee without employee consent or agreement to do so (or a court order, such as for wage garnishment). Even if you do owe them money, they still cannot deduct from or withhold your check unless you agree to let them do so (such as to repay the amount you owe). Their recourse, without your agreement, is to sue you if they feel you damaged their equipment and prove in court that you did so.
You can contact the department of labor about this--they may be able to help you--or sue (such as in small claims court) for the money.
IF you did damage the equipment, you would be liable for the cost of the damage--but again, they'd have to sue you and prove you did the damage.

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