Can an employer keep a final paycheck to cover past due expense costs?

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Can an employer keep a final paycheck to cover past due expense costs?

I owed the company I worked for approximately $490. When they terminated me they informed me that they kept my final pay to cover the debt. Can they do that?

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an employer is restricted from making unauthorized deductions from a final paycheck (other than those required by state or federal law, etc). So unless you have a union agreement or employment contract, or express company policy allows for this, or you have given your consent, such deductions are illegal. You can file a complaint with your state's department of labor for a violation.
 
Note: This doesn't mean that you still don't owe the money, just that a paycheck deduction is not the proper method of re-payment.

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