Can an employer take your final check after you were laid off if you still owed it for insurance premiums?

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Can an employer take your final check after you were laid off if you still owed it for insurance premiums?

I was recently laid off. When I started my job it took my employer several months to take insurance premiums out of my check, even though I let them know a couple times. When they finally caught it, we just decided that they would take double premiums out of my checks. As I said, they just laid me off. I still owe several hundred dollars for the premiums. They called

me today and said they’re just going to take my final check to make up for the difference. Can they do that?

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, legally, they cannot: an employer may not withhold some or all of an employee's check even if the employee owes them money; rather, the employer is supposed to sue the employee for the money if he/she will not pay it--that's the legal way to get the money. You could sue for the final check, but if you do owe them at least that much, you may not want to--what will happen is that you sue them for the check, they countersue for the premiums, and you net out to the same place (or even come behind, if the amount you owe exceeds the last paycheck). Only if the check they took is greater than the amount you owe is it worthwhile suing (probably in small claims court).


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