Withholding Salary Lawyers
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What Does “Withholding Salary” Mean in an Employment Setting?
Withholding salary refers to instances where an employer fails to render all or a part of an employee’s salary or wages. It is also referred to as “withholding wages” or “withholding pay”. Federal labor laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require an employer to pay workers minimum wage and overtime pay, if they are not classified as exempt.
A large portion of employment lawsuits involve some form of withholding salary. Many employment claims specifically involve instances where the employer has failed to pay a worker overtime pay. Withholding overtime pay or other employee benefits can often affect an entire class of workers, for example if the employer made a mistake in classifying them as exempt.
Is Withholding Salary From an Employee Legal?
In most cases, withholding salary from an employee is prohibited. Failing to pay an employee the wages that they are entitled to can result in legal consequences for the employer.
However, there are a few instances when it’s legal for an employer to withhold an employee’s wages. This will of course depend on the facts of the case and the laws in each individual state.
Examples where withholding salary is lawful may include:
- Income Withholding Order: An income withholding order is a type of court order. It instructs the employer to divert some of an employee’s funds towards paying costs from a court judgment. These are commonly issued for child support payments. An employer MUST obey the income withholding order by deducting the payments from the worker’s paycheck and issuing it to a state agency. Notice should be given to the employee of the order.
- Losses Caused by the Employee: In some jurisdictions, an employer is allowed to deduct from a worker’s paycheck if they suffered loss due to the employee’s gross negligence, dishonesty, or intentional misconduct. For example, if the employee purposefully destroys company property, an employer may withhold a portion of that employee’s wages to make up for the losses they caused.
What are the Legal Consequences for Wrongfully Withholding Salary?
Wrongfully withholding salary from an employer can result in legal consequences for the employer, including:
- Civil Suit: The employer may file a civil lawsuit to recover the lost wages and other costs associated with the violation
- Investigation: Employees can also file a claim with a government agency, who may launch an investigation into the employer’s policies and practices
- Criminal Violations: Withholding salary often involves criminal violations, such as fraud, tax violations, and other types of white collar crime. The employer may face criminal charges resulting in a fine or even jail time
Therefore an employer always needs to exercise caution and be very careful when withholding salary from an employee. If this is done in the wrong way, it could have negative effects on the employer’s business.
Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer for Issues With Withholding Salary?
Withholding salary is a serious violation- if you need assistance with these issues or any other employment disputes, you may wish to contact a lawyer for advice. A competent attorney will be able to represent you in court in order to recover any losses caused to you by your employer. Employment laws are different in each state, but a lawyer can provide you with valuable legal advice during your case.
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Last Modified: 05-07-2014 09:35 AM PDT
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