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California wage law protects employees against many types of wage theft, including wrongful deductions from a paycheck. Discuss your options for wage recovery with a California unpaid wages lawyer right away.

California law considers all wages that an employee earns to be their rightful property, so employers taking away those wages can constitute wage theft in many cases. To protect that property, the law only allows for very specific deductions to be taken straight from an employee’s pay by an employer. When an employer takes improper deductions, an employee might have a claim for underpayment and back wages. 

If you believe that you have improper deductions on your paycheck that lower the wages you deserve, you should not wait to contact a California unpaid wages lawyer to discuss the best course of action. 

The following is some information that employees should know about when it comes to deductions from their paychecks and whether or not they are lawful.

There are Very Limited Deductions Authorized

Without agreement from an employee, companies are not allowed to deduct from paychecks except in very limited circumstances. California law only allows the following deductions:

  1. Those expressly permitted or required by federal or state law
  2. Those expressly authorized by the employee for insurance premiums (authorization must be in writing)
  3. Those expressly authorized by wage agreements or collective bargaining agreements to cover health or pension plan contributions
  4. “Other” deductions not constituting rebates or deductions from minimum wage or agreed-upon wages

It is not surprising that this can be confusing for employees, and the language of the law can be difficult to decipher. Put simply, some permitted deductions include:

  1. Tax withholdings
  2. Company-sponsored plan contributions
  3. Court-ordered garnishments

You Can Agree to Some Other Deductions

The law allows employees to authorize specific other deductions, but these can only be those that benefit the employee – not the employer. These might include deductions to cover purchases from the company cafeteria or other personal items from the company, purchases under a stock plan, and similar purposes. 

Employers Cannot Deduct to Help Themselves

When employees make mistakes, it can sometimes cost employers money. However, California law prohibits employers from deducting such losses from employee paychecks. Instead, employers must be responsible for their own business losses and cannot try to recoup losses from their employees’ pay. Even if employees are grossly negligent or dishonest and cause losses, employers must take up the matter with a legal action and not through deductions.  

Employers also cannot take deductions as payment for employee debts, such as advances, loans, or overpayments. When the employer is a creditor, it has to follow the same procedures to garnish wages as other creditors and cannot help themselves to the employee’s pay. 

Contact Our California Unpaid Wages Lawyers Right Away

As you can see, the law regarding pay deductions favors the employees in California, but this does not stop many employers from trying to get away with improper deductions that deprive employees of their rightful pay. If you think you might have a claim due to unfair deductions, contact a California unpaid wages attorney at Mara Law Firm. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online to learn about your rights and how we can help you.

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