Can my former employer withhold my paycheck for damage charges?

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Can my former employer withhold my paycheck for damage charges?

I was recently terminated from a painting job. My employer withheld my final paycheck on the following payday that I should have received it. He claims that my final paycheck is being held/used because of property damages that occurred on the last site I worked at. Also, I worked on the site with 2 other employees. After talking to them, I learned that they are not being billed for the damages. My former employer is placing the blame and bill exclusively on me when there is no evidence that I caused the damages. Can he legally hold my paycheck and also bill me for this?

Asked on July 24, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, your former employer cannot do this. Withholding a final paycheck is not legally permissible. Additionally, making arbitrary deductions from an employee's paycheck also violates the law; that is uless he had permission to do so. For example, did you have an employment or union contract allowing for this? Did a company policy of which you were made aware give him permission to do so? Did you in any other pay consent to such withholding? If not (and I suspect that to be the case), your employer's actions are unlawful. You can file a complaint with your state's department of labor. You can also consult with an employment law attorney on the matter.


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