What can I do if my employer is withholding money due to damage to company property?

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What can I do if my employer is withholding money due to damage to company property?

My company has a vesting schedule of 6 years for our 401k. My employer matches contributions 0 for 1year of service, 20 for 2 years, 40 for 3 years, 60 for 4 years, 80 for 5 years and 100 for 6 years of service. My account was showing 20 for 5 years of service. After communication back and forth between me and HR, they said they would honor only 60 because I did not work a full 5 years ago. I said that I worked over 1000 hours that year because my start date was in June. They said that there was more to the formula than just the 1000 hour requirement. After calling and speaking directly to the 401k company, they said that 1000 hours was the whole formula. If you work over 1000 hours, you get the credit for the year. They then said that they had just confirmed with my employer that I did not work 1000 hours. My employer reported that I worked less than 1000 hours that year. I was pretty angry when I found out that they intentionally reported incorrect work hours and slammed a few doors on the way outside. One door got pushed into the drywall. This was caught on video. If I get terminated for damage to company property. Is there anything that I can do? I believe my employer will give me the 80 now to avoid a lawsuit and then terminate me.

Asked on July 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you do not have a written employment contract guarantying or protecting your employment you are an employee at will and may be terminated at any time for any reason and there would be nothing you could do about it.
2) If you damaged company property, not only can you be terminated, you can be fired "for cause" and denied unemployment benefits. You could also be sued by your employer for the cost to repair the damage (e.g. repair the drywall). 
3) What your employer *cannot* due is withhold money from you for property damage--they have to pay you all wages, and give you any other money you earned even when you owe them money in turn. Their recourse, if you did damage their property, would be to sue you for the money and/or terminate you.
4) If they improperly denied you other funds to which you are entitled by lying about or understating hours worked, you could sue them for those funds but would have to prove the actual hours you worked.


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