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Can They Withhold My Paycheck? Massachusetts

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  • Can They Withhold My Paycheck? Massachusetts

    In advance, any advice or suggestions you have are greatly appreciated!

    OK, here's the story...

    I worked in a Catholic School this past school year and worked for a very difficult principal. Nine of the faculty/staff members have left the school because of her and I know more would like to if they had the opportunity.

    I received a notice yesterday (with my August 1st paycheck) that my final 2 paychecks would be withheld until I returned my 2005-2006 plan book to the rectory or school office. Now, the return of this plan book was never mentioned in my contract, was never communicated to the staff throughout the year, was never mentioned when I gave my notice in late June, never told to me as I walked out the door for the final time on June 16th and has never been requested in the June and July paychecks that I have received.

    The principal included a copy of a page from a 1999 employee handbook (The Boston Archdiocese) that none of the faculty or staff has ever seen which states that the plan book is the property of the school and should be returned to the principal at the end of the year. None of my "teacher" friends have ever heard of this policy, and have never had to turn in their plan books.

    Now, I'm not even sure where my plan book is...I have a new job at a new school and could not have forseen needing it again. My question is: Can they really hold back my paychecks (the money which I've already earned, teaching through the school year) if I can't find this plan book OR decide they shouldn't receive it back? Shouldn't this have been specified in my contract or communicated to the faculty at some point through the year?

    Thanks again for any thoughts!

  • #2
    No, they cannot withhold your pay for this. Churches are exempt from some employment laws but to the best of my knowledge the Fair Labor Standards Act is not one of them.

    Patty?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Nope, cbg, not to my knowledge either.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        Me too. Having worked in education, I do think I've met this principal's evil twin at a high school in Baltimore.
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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        • #5
          Hey, Marketeer.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            So, OP, your recourse is to file a complaint with Tom Reilly's office.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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