Can an employer pay cash for 3 weeks then on the next payday take all wages away because he didn’t take taxes out of the 3 payments?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can an employer pay cash for 3 weeks then on the next payday take all wages away because he didn’t take taxes out of the 3 payments?

He used quickbooks to do payroll then switched to an accountant and in the process he paid 3 weeks with hand written checks and not taking taxes out and today we supposed to get direct deposit and didn’t get it and said the accountant took the taxes out for those 3 checks so I didn’t get a check this week. He doesn’t give paystubs every week and doesn’t pay overtime.

Asked on September 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer cannot do this:
1) Even though you should have had taxes taken out, the law is clear that an employer may not withhold or deduct money from pay without employee consent or agreement. Therefore, even if you do owe taxes from earlier checjks, he can't take it out of later checks. You may have to pay those taxes to the IRS at tax time, but that doesn't let him withhold the money now unless you were to agree to it.
2) If you are paid on an hourly basis, you are not exempt from overtime and must get it under the law (e.g the FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act) whenever you work more than 40 hours per week.
Your employer appears to be violating the law. You may wish to contact the state department of labor about filing a complaint.

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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