Can an employer charge an employee if another employeegoes over their budget?

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Can an employer charge an employee if another employeegoes over their budget?

My husband works for a beer distributor and they have a new rule. Each supervisor is in charge of 4 employees. Each employee gets a budget. If anyone in the group goes over the budget all 4 salesmen have to split the cost of the overage. The amount is then deducted out of their paycheck even if that salesman didn’t go over their budget. Is this legal?

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, an employer may not make an arbitrary deduction from an employee's paycheck.  However, if a term of employment provides for this and an employee is given advance notice of the potential of a deduction, then making the deduction itself is legal.  The reason is that absent an employment contract, most employment arrangements are "at will".  This means that an employer may set the terms of employment as they see fit.  If it is not to an employee's liking, they can choose to work for the employer or not. 

Bottom line, absent some form of discrimination (not apparent here), your husband's employer is within its rights to make these deductions.


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