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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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.


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