Can an employer withhold paychecks?

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Can an employer withhold paychecks?

There’s someone in the upper ranks of my office threatening to withhold pay if a small part of our job isn’t done writing daily notes for our shift.

Generally, under federal law, an employer cannot withhold a final paycheck. Federal law, i.e., the Fair Labor Standards Act (

Asked on December 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Under federal law, typically an employer cannot withhold a paycheck. The Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), mandates that an employee be paid a minimum wage. When it fails to pay any paycheck at all, it has failed to pay a wage for the pay period. And failure to pay any wage means that the employer has failed to pay the minimum wage required by law. That is the basis for many lawsuits/wage claims. Typically, such deductions/withholding of pay can only occur if the employeee gives their consent to it in writing and even then only certain limited permissible deductions are allowed and these deductions can amount to no more than, a certain percentage of the gross wages due. Additionally, another factor to consider is the timely payment of wages. If wages are not paid on time, this, too, can be considered an improper withholding. At this point, you can contact your state's department of labor for further information and/or consult directly with a local employment law attorney.


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