Can my employer take money out of my final paycheck for tuition payback if it was not discussed or agreed to?

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Can my employer take money out of my final paycheck for tuition payback if it was not discussed or agreed to?

I recently gave my 2 weeks notice to my emplyer and just started a new job. My previous employer gave me tuition reimbursement and on the form it says I am supposed to work 12 months after the last payment. I received my final check today and unannounced they took a large chunk towards tuition payback. Is this legal without even telling or discussing with me? It was my understanding that unless the form for tuition reimbursement specifically says they can hold my final ckeck then that is not legal.

Asked on March 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are correct--unless you consented (including consenting previously in writing, such as on the tuition reimbursement form) to money being withheld from your paycheck, your employer may not do this.

However, as a practical matter, you may choose to let them do so:

1) Since the money has already been taken out, you would have to bring a lawsuit to recover it.

2) If you do sue them, they could then counterclaim for the money you appear to owe them for tuition reimbursement--therefore, they could either offset what you owe them versus what they owe you, or, if the total amount of tuition reimbursement remaining is greater than the final paycheck, you'd end up owing them more money.

Therefore, if you do legitimately owe them tuition reimbursement, it may be in your best interest to let them take the money out of the final paycheck.


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