Is it legal to split and subtract shortages from my pay?

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Is it legal to split and subtract shortages from my pay?

Asked on May 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal to take money from your wages or salary without your consent (or agreement), except for that withholding or deductions required by law: for example, FICA and court-ordered wage garnishment.

However, if you agreed--either specifically in writing, or at least by continuing to work there after being provided clear notice--that employees were responsible for shortages, they could hold you responsible. Or if they believe that you either intentionally (e.g. theft) or negligently (i.e. carelessly) cased the short, they could expect you to make good on it. In either of these cases, without your consent to deduct it from your wage and if you did not voluntarily pay it, your employer would have to sue you to get the money.

Also note that if you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will and may be fired at any time, for any reason--including that the employer believes you caused a short.


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