When an employee quits, can their former employer deduct from their final paycheck for the cost of uniforms that were not returned?

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When an employee quits, can their former employer deduct from their final paycheck for the cost of uniforms that were not returned?

My son recently left his job for another one. His last check was around $600.00 but they deducted almost $550 for not returning all of his uniform pants. Can they do that?

Asked on July 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New Mexico

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The law varies on this. Federal law allows employers to deduct for the cost of supplying/maintaining a uniform from an employee's paycheck, as long as the employee's wages after the deduction don't fall below the mandated minimum wage. However, some state laws are stricter; they prohibit employers from charging employees for a uniform that has a company logo or can't be used as street wear and still other states don't allow employers to charge employees for uniforms at all.

To find out the law in your state you can contact your state's department of labor.


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