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Labor Law Facts & Fiction Part 3 – Are Employers allowed to withhold an employee’s paycheck?

Labor Law Facts & Fiction – Part 3 of a 9-Part Series

ARE EMPLOYERS ALLOWED TO WITHHOLD AN EMPLOYEES PAYCHECK?

The answer to this question is ABSOLUTELY NOT….!!!   The Labor Department informed me that Employers are PROHIBITED from THREATENING to WITHHOLD an Employees REGULARLY SCHEDULED or FINAL PAYCHECK.

In fact, The Labor Department advised me in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that an Employee’s REGULARLY SCHEDULED or FINAL PAYCHECK is DUE & PAYABLE on THE NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED PAYDAY, whether that payday is DAILY, WEEKLY, EVERY 2 WEEKS or MONTHLY.  And pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) the employee is NOT REQUIRED to sign any kind of “release” or attend any kind of “exit interview” in order to get their paycheck….!!!!

Furthermore, the Labor Department advised me that employers may not make any deductions from an employee’s regularly scheduled or final paycheck which benefits or profits employers, and brings an employee’s gross earnings before taxes below the minimum wage for the total number of regular hours worked. 

In fact, one field investigator at the Labor Department informed me that employers are required to pay employees their” regular rate of pay” not only on their final paycheck but on all of their paychecks.  If the employer feels that the employee owes them money for the employee’s failure to return their uniforms or other equipment for example, then the employer should file a civil action against that current or former employee in Small Claims Court or some other Court in order to collect the money they feel or allege the employee owes them.  Court is the “proper forum” to resolve such matters, not the employee’s paycheck.

However, this same field investigator also advised me that as long as an employee’s gross earnings before taxes is at or above the “minimum wage” for the total number of regular hours worked on a regularly scheduled or final paycheck, then it would be up to the employee to take their current or former employer to Court to collect the rest of the agreed “regular rate of pay” from their current or former employer.

“Regular Rate of Pay” by the way is any verbal or written agreement an employer and employee both agree to regarding the “hourly wages” or “salaried wages” of an employee….These wages must be at least the “minimum wage” but it can be also be any amount above the “minimum wage” as well….

“Regular Rate of Pay” and “Back Wages” will be discussed in detail in another part of this series…. 

Some employers we found threaten or actually withhold employee’s paychecks anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and in some cases from a few hours to a few weeks.  We found that some of the reasons employers displayed this kind of UNLAWFUL & “CHILDISH” CONDUCT was simply to be “CONTROLLING” or ‘VINDICTIVE”. 

In other cases, we found that this unlawful conduct by some other employers was an attempt toFORCE employees to sign some kind of release or other form releasing the employer from any liability for any damages they may have caused the employee.  We found this especially true if the employee was injured on the job. 

In some instances, we even observed employers withholding employee’s paychecks until the employee signs a new W-4 form for the New Year.  

If an employee feels compelled to sign some kind of release as a stipulation by the employer to get their paycheck immediately because the employee needs the money, such a procedure The Labor Department informed me would be considered SIGNING UNDER DURESS, and any documents signed by the employee would therefore be rendered INVALID by The Labor Department or a COURT OF LAW….

All of the above is “unlawful” said the Labor Department….  Fortunately, the majority of American Employers obey Federal and State Labor Laws, but when they don’t, it’s usually not intentional….It’s the minority of employers who violate the FLSA intentionally and repeatedly that the Labor Department says they’re concerned about….

REMEMBER….!!!!  If “your employer” REFUSES to give you your REGULARLY SCHEDULED or FINAL PAYCHECK on the REGULARLY SCHEDULED PAYDAY, you should call the nearest WAGES & HOURS DIVISION of the UNITED STATES LABOR DEPARTMENT, usually found in the white pages of your telephone directory under U.S. GOVERNMENT.  The Labor Department will call “your employer” for you, informally requesting them to turn over your paycheck to you….However, if it becomes necessary, The Labor Department can get a Federal Court Order COMPELLING “your employer” to SURRENDER YOUR PAYCHECK to you….

Finally, The Labor Department Advised me that when they are made aware of EMPLOYERS who KNOWINGLY, WILLFULLY, MALICIOUSLY & REPEATEDLY  VIOLATE the FLSA with RECKLESS INDIFFERENCE by using these kind of “SWEAT SHOP” tactics on their employees, that this type of behavior is a “red flag”.  This “red flag” they said, usually gives “probable cause” to believe that there are numerous other kinds of violations of the FLSA being perpetrated, and therefore often results in this kind of employer being “AUDITED” by the Labor Department.  

For employers who get caught and audited, fines and penalties can run as high as $1,000 (one thousand dollars) for EACH VIOLATION of any part of the FLSA dating back as far as 2 years prior to the audit….

View the original article at Veterans Today

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