For the most part, employees don’t examine the deductions that come out of their paychecks. These numbers are easy to gloss over it since they are mostly composed of taxes and insurance premiums. However, some deductions that are common on paystubs are not allowed in California.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?
Jasmine started a new job at a fast food restaurant that requires her to wear a uniform shirt. Her boss said that the company would take $20 from her first two paychecks to cover the cost of the shirt.
Flynn’s cash drawer was $5 short. His manager reprimanded him and told him that the $5 would come out of his check.
Chris takes his server’s tips out of their paychecks since he pays them more than minimum wage.
Even though these situations may seem logical, under California law, they are illegal and are not allowed as business practices. This type of mistake by your company can cost you real money.
By law an employer can only deduct money from your paycheck for three reasons:
- Deductions required by Federal or State Law (Taxes);
- Deductions that the employee has expressed in writing can be subtracted to cover insurance premiums or hospital/medical dues;
- Any deduction authorized by a collective bargaining or wage agreement to include health, welfare or pension payments.
Common Illegal Deductions
Some deductions may seem reasonable, but are still not allowed, resulting in a violation of the law when they are taken:
- Gratuities – Employers cannot take or collect any tip or gratuity that is left to the employee. Tip pooling or sharing is allowed for employees who provide customer-facing service in restaurants. In other words, you cannot be required to tip pool with back of the house employees such as kitchen staff;
- Uniforms – If an employer requires a uniform it must be provided by and paid for by the employer;
- Photographs – Any photographs that are required to be taken by the employee must be paid for by the employer;
- Business Expenses – An employer must reimburse its employees for expenses that occur while working that are related to the job (for example gas and vehicle maintenance, air travel, hotels, supplies, and restaurant charges on business);
- Medical Examinations – An employer cannot require an employee or prospective employee to pay for a required physical or medical examination. The cost cannot be deducted from a paycheck;
- Loss or Breakage – An employer cannot seek reimbursement for loss or breakage of equipment or product. In most circumstances, the employer must cover the losses.
Get the Help You Need
Even if the deduction has been taken in good faith, or even if it is legal in another state, in the State of California, most deductions are illegal. Has your employer taken money from your check illegally? You may be able to recoup these funds.
The Carter Law Firm, located in Newport Beach, specializes in employment law, including paystub violations. Contact us today if you have been wronged. Please complete the form below or call to schedule a consultation. We can help you recover lost wages due to a paystub violation, illegal deduction, and other employment law violations.