If you believe that your employer has made an illegal payroll deduction from your paycheck, you can consider filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. Before doing so, however, you should consult with a lawyer.

An experienced employment attorney can tell you if your employer has in fact made an illegal payroll deduction. Keep in mind that many deductions are perfectly legal.

Also, employment laws vary at the federal and state level. Your lawyer can advise you on whether you should file your complaint with a state agency or U.S. Department of Labor.

If I Have a Valid Claim, How Do I File a Complaint?

Once you know that your claim is valid, you need to go to the "Wage and Hour Division" office of the Department of Labor in your area. Locations of these offices can be found on the Department of Labor’s website. There you will be able to request the appropriate forms and file your complaint.

It is important that you file your complaint as soon as possible. Federal law gives only two or three years (depending on the circumstances) from the date of the payroll deduction to conclude the inquiry. You want to give the Department of Labor as much time as possible to properly investigate your complaint.

What if My Employer Tries to Get Back at Me For Filing a Complaint?

Many people do not file complaints because they are afraid of retaliation from their employer. However, federal law prohibits your employer from retaliating against you for objecting to a paycheck deduction, even if you turn out to be wrong. If your employer does try to "get back" at you, you can file a retaliation claim with the Department of Labor or contact an employment attorney for more options.