Is it legal to withhold and take money out of a check?

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Is it legal to withhold and take money out of a check?

I lost my keys to where I work. At first they were fine with it, gave me a second key and I contuined working as normal. Now, about a week later, my manger is telling me that they’re holding my check and taking whatever money out to replace the key and get a new lock on the door. I did not sign any documents to allow this. Mind you, the first day I started they gave me the key to the store Now finding out they could have put me on in between shifts where I would’ve never had the key in the first place. Something is sounding sketchy here.

Asked on August 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, legally, they may not simply take money from your paycheck: the law is very clear that employee pay may only be debited or withhold with either 1) employee consent or agreement; or 2) a court order (such as from a lawsuit or a divorce, for wage garnishment to pay a judgment or for alimony). Without consent or  a court order, even if they believe you owe them money, they can't take it of your pay; they'd have to sue you for the money and win. (Or they could simply terminate you, as punishment for costing them money, if they want and you don't have a written employment contract preventing them from doing so--without a contract, you would be an "employee at will" and could be terminated at any time, for any reason.)
If they do take money from you, you could sue them for it. They in turn have the right to sue you for the cost they claim you caused them, but would have to prove in court that you were negligent, or careless, in losing the keys, that the lose reasonably caused them to have to get a new lock, and the cost of that lock and new key.


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