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Colorado Garnishment - Employer Duties

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  • Colorado Garnishment - Employer Duties

    We are a small real estate company that employees independent contractors as real estate agents (1099). We received a Writ of Continnuing Garnishment for one of our independent real estate agents at the end of February. We immediatley notified the agent, provided a copy, and answered the garnishment by the due date and returned the form to the creditor's attorney. This agent was due commission compensation about a week later from a real estate closing transaction. We complied and withheld the specified amount from this agent's check and have it in escrow, ready to send in to the creditor's attorney.

    However, ever since the agent found out about the garnishment, she has been sending us a barrage of emails and long voice mails pleading with us to not send the money in and that she is having her attorney deal with the matter to stop the garnishment. She has just about threatened us to not remit the money. She claims she is having her attorney contact us - so far we have heard nothing. We have not received any notice to not remit the garnished monies from creditor's attorney. Our goal is to comply with the law and carry out the garnishment within the specified time period. Am I correct that we as Employer are REQUIRED to comply with order to remit the garnished wages? It is my understanding that we need a Release from Creditor's attorney before we stop garnishing the wages - correct? Thanks for any clarification.....
    Last edited by JWallick; 03-14-2007, 02:32 PM.

  • #2
    Yes, you should comply with the order in your hand, not with what your employee is telling you verbally.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      ElleMD - Thank you for your reply. We will follow the order and comply and remit the withheld wages to the Judgement Creditor/Plaintiff.

      The independent agent is persistent though and is really making a nuisance of herself by leaving management long-winded voice mails and rambling emails about us not "understanding Garnishments", that she is "working with her attorney" to put a Stay/Stop on this garnishment and/or that she just received the Order to Revive Judgement "just three days ago" and that she has more time to settle (which seems incorrect when we received the Writ of Continnuing Garnishment almost a month ago).

      Personally, I think she is using alot of stall tactics and trying to bully the employees here. Anyway....our standard answer to her is for her to talk to her attorney, or have her attorney contact the Judgement Creditor, the Creditor's Attorney or the Garnishing Agency.

      Thanks again,
      JWallick

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      • #4
        I would say that you are correct in witholding the garnishment, with one small caveat: provided the garnishment contained language that covers an entity with whom she "contracts." She is not your "employee." The real estate agency is not her "employer." If the Writ of Continuing Garnishment only has language that covers "employees" and does not specifically mention anyone from whom she receives money i.e. "a contractor," then I would not withold the money. I would return the document to the court and tell them that she IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE OF X COMPANY.

        I say this because you don't want to call her an employee for one purpose, and a contractor for another. If you call her an employee for the purpose of garnishments, she could very well file a claim for unpaid wages against you for failure to comply with the the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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        • #5
          Whether they can be deducted from the pay for an IC depends on the type of debt and the state. Some types of debts such as child support and medical support debts are almost always allowed to be deducted employee or not (and they are in CO).

          Before disregarding any order, I'd seek the advice of my own legal counsel.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            After speaking to your attorney, talk to the employee.

            Tell her that it is not your responsibility or desire to judge the merits of a court ordered garnishment. After getting said garnishment vetted by your attorney to make sure it qualified as a deductible action, your responsibilities to the validity of the document end.

            Also, tell her that you will be taking out the garnished amounts until another court order tells you differently... after, again, having the new document examined by your legal counsel.

            Can anyone tell me if the employee can be charged for the legal time or if it is a cost of business? The companies I have worked for always had in house counsel so I don't know.

            I had a similar situation a couple of years ago. An employee was having his checks garnished for child support. He was absolutely convinced that he didn't owe a dime and it was all a legal snafu that would be quickly resolved.

            That was 1998....and I am still waiting for the paperwork that was "about to be sent to you".

            I always make it a practice to distance myself (and company) from making these decisions. Not only is it a bad place to be, but the last thing I want to have to do is to defend my actions against an order in open court... something which may be brought against me, personally, or my company.
            Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

            I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

            Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.

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            • #7
              OP, if you're asking if the IC can be charged for the cost of your conferring with counsel, the answer is whatever the contract allows for. However, this is a cost of doing business.

              The other thing, to reiterate, does the order state wages ONLY, or wages and other income? The other income would be what you pay an IC, so the order would be valid.
              Last edited by Pattymd; 03-19-2007, 02:54 AM.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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