Can an employer deduct cash shortages from my wages?

UPDATED: Dec 29, 2012

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Can an employer deduct cash shortages from my wages?

Asked on December 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, an employer can only deduct for shortages if exisiting company policy or the terms of a union agreement/employment contract prvides for this. Absent that, no deductions can be made from an employee's paycheck without their consent.

Additionally, withholding a paycheck based on a shortage is also a violation of law. If an employer has the right to be compensated for a shortfall, it must pay an employee their paycheck and, in turn, have the employee then pay the shortfall back over to them. If the employee refuses to pay, then the employer can seek its remedy at law and sue for the money.

Finally, the fact is that if your paycheck is being illegally withheld, you need to 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 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.

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