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Deduction from final pay California

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  • Deduction from final pay California

    An employee was paid a retention bonus in advance of working the hours required to be eligible for the bonus (I already know that was a mistake). The employee is now terminating employement.

    My question is, can the employer deduct the amount from the final check if they have signed authorization from the employee and the employee still receives minimum wage?

  • #2
    Not in CA. There is a very specific CA rule that prohits employers from "self help" recovery methods. You can still take the employee to court, but CA does not allow you to put your hand directly in the employee's pocket and take out whatever money you feel like.

    From the CA-DLSE manual.

    10.5.1 Section 221 Prevents Employer From Recovering Wages Paid To Employee. By enacting section 2 21, and retaining it as interpreted by the courts and the IWC, the Legislature has prohibited employers from using self-help to take back any part of “wages theretofore paid” to the employee, except in narrowly-defined circumstances provided by statute. This is consistent with the ruling in the case of CSEA v. State of California (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 374; 243 Cal.Rptr. 60 2, which held that absent a contrary provision in the law, the attachment and garnishment laws in California prohibit an employer from recovering any wages previously paid to the employee.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DAW View Post
      Not in CA. There is a very specific CA rule that prohits employers from "self help" recovery methods. You can still take the employee to court, but CA does not allow you to put your hand directly in the employee's pocket and take out whatever money you feel like.

      From the CA-DLSE manual.
      That's what I thought. Thank you very much for the reply and especially the quote - very helpful.

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