I get an awful lot of calls from prospective clients regarding deductions from paychecks. The question is simple enough: Can an employer make deductions from my paycheck? However, the answer – as in most things legal – isn’t as simple as the question may seem.
Deductions come in all forms, some permissible and some impressible. Among the obvious permissible deductions are employment related taxes and child support obligations. However, there are two types of “other” deductions that require special attention: 1) deductions authorized by the employee and 2) deductions that are not authorized by the employee.
First, it may seem that any deduction authorized by an employee would be a valid deduction. In other words, many employees and employers alike, believe that if an employee signs a piece of paper that says the employee authorizes X amount to be deducted from their paycheck, then it is a permissible deduction. This assumption may not be true.
Many times an employer will try to guise an improper deduction into the form of an advance or a loan to an employee. Take for example, a deduction for damage due to a workplace accident, such as, a cash register shortage due to user error, accidentally breaking glassware, getting into a vehicle accident while at work, etc. These types of deductions are considered a “cost of doing business” and may not be passed along to the employee if the deductions cut into the minimum wage pay or cut into the overtime premium owed to the employee. This remains true even if an employee authorized the employer to make the deduction for an item that is considered a cost of doing business. Ultimately, whether the deduction is improper or proper is a question that can only be deciphered with legal consultation.
Second, any deduction that is not authorized by law (e.g. taxes or child support) or by the employee in a signed writing is a violation of the Texas Payday Act. You should consult with an attorney to determine whether you have a claim under the Texas Payday Act or any other wage laws.
If you have questions about deductions from your wages, we are happy to answer you questions: 817-479-9229. Please call and schedule an appointment with an attorney.
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