Can I legally deduct wages/withhold pay

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I legally deduct wages/withhold pay

I am a small business owner dealing with automotive work. I have an employee who
has been working on a customers vehicle for almost 2 weeks. He has been welding
and doing the body work to prepare for painting and completion. I found that he
did not measure and the entire vehicle body is off by an inch on one side of the
vehicle. I will need to redo the entire project which means the 84 hours of
labor will need to be redone and of course I can not charge the customer double.
Can I deduct any or all of the lost labor wages from their final checks?

Asked on April 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, federal law (e.g. the Fair Labor Standards Act) forbids deducting or withholding from employee pay without employee consent, as does general principals of contract law (there was an agreement to pay the employee for working, whether that was a written or oral agreement; unless that agrerement specifically allowed for deductions in this case, you have to pay for the time spent working). If you want to recover the money from the employee, you would have to sue him (e.g. in small claims court) and prove that he was careless and the amount his carelessness cost you.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption