Can an employer fire you and take back vacation pay out of your check

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer fire you and take back vacation pay out of your check

I had taken my paid vacation and
they laid me off and took the
vacation pay back out of my last
check and left me with 32 dollars

Asked on June 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you had consented in advance to them deducting any amounts you owed, such as for vacation you had taken but not accrued, this would be legal. Such consent could be your specific agreement to them doing this now, or it could be inferred from you continuing to work there and take vacation after having been made aware that this was the policy (to continue employment or use vacation after being told what the rules about vacation are shows agreement to those rules).
However, if you never consented to the deduction, they could not do this: the law is very clear that employers may not withold or deduct employee pay without employee consent (or a court order, such as court-ordered wage garnishment). In theory, you could sue for the money; in practice, if they took out the correct amount (did not overwithhold), there's no point to legal action, since if you owe them for unaccrued vacation, they could interpose that amount as a set-off against any amounts they owe you and you will net out to the same place as you are now: when you sue someone for $X, if you legitimately owe them $Y, they can raise you debt to them in the lawsuit and seek an offset against what they owe you, so that $X = $Y, the two amount cancel out.

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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