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California - Withholding damages done by employee from final paycheck

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  • California - Withholding damages done by employee from final paycheck

    We have a (former) employee who was terminated on the spot for intentionally damaging fixtures and property ($500+) in our business. The employees actions were recorded by security cameras and are documented in a police report. The employee confessed to the actions when interviewed by the police. The final paycheck will just about cover the damages.

    Question: Can we deduct the amount of the damages from the final paycheck?

  • #2
    According to my sources, the state of California does permit deductions from pay for losses, shortages or breakages if they are caused by a dishonest or willful act by the employee, or by gross negligence.

    However, I very much doubt that Federal law would permit you to take his entire check. My understanding is that you would have to pay him at least minimum wage for the number of hours he worked.

    I would strongly suggest that you review your options with the state DOL before taking any action.
    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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