Is it legal for my former employer to withhold money from me, if I owe them money?

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2011

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Is it legal for my former employer to withhold money from me, if I owe them money?

I have had money deducted from my paychecks, from the beginning to the end of the year for Christmas, and the company adds it to my paycheck in one lump sum at the end of the year. I was recently terminated from my job, but I owe the company money from a medical card they gave me, do they have to give me the money that had been taken out or do they have rights to keep it?

Asked on August 18, 2011 Florida


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Does company policy state that they can keep it under the circumstances? Is there an employment contract or union agreement that allows for this type of paycheck deduction/withholding? If not, then your termination has nothing at all to do with your responsibility to reimburse your employer for the medical card. Paycheck deductions/withholding cannot be done without prior notice and consent. If your employer wants to recoup the money paid out on the card, it must sue you in court (assuming that you and your employer cannot come to terms regarding repayment).

Bottom line, you still may owe the money but your employer cannot simply choose to pay itself pay back out of your earned wages.

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.

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