Can an employer deduct monies from your paycheck for not attending a non-mandatory company function?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer deduct monies from your paycheck for not attending a non-mandatory company function?

We were offered 1 free employ ticket and 17 for any addition tickets and lunch and drinks were included, to a company waterpark function. I was not able to attend but I gave my ticket to a co-worker in which was used as they did attend. Now I get my check and there’s a 24 misc. deduction on my paystub not only for the 17 bit 7 for the food. My ticket was used so I don’t believe I should be charged we had no knowledge to those term that if we took a ticket and didn’t show we will be charged. It was said to staff in an email if you took a tix and didn’t show you are going to get charged? How if we thought it was 1 free not mandatory if we took?

Asked on September 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends exactly on what that email said: the issue  is not how you interpreted it, but the words or language it used. If you received an email before taking the ticket which did say something like what you suggest, that if you took the ticket but "didn't show," you would be charged, that would typically be enough to support the deduction; it would have been sufficient advance warning of the terms so that by taking the ticket, you could be held to have agreed to the deduction.
Also: even if the language in the email was more ambiguous or weaker, and/or you did not get it in advance of taking the ticket (if you didn't get warning of the terms in advance, or the terms did not lay out that you might face a deduction or non-attendence, you could not be said to have agreed to the deduction), if the employer will not return the money voluntarily, you'd have to sue them for it. It is highly doubtly that it is worth suing your employer, even in small claims court, for $24.00.

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