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Employer withholding from employee wages to protect profit California

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  • Employer withholding from employee wages to protect profit California

    Employee worked for a national chain motel in California. During the course of her employment,

    She accepted a $500 money order from a guest for the advance payment of a suite. The money order was presented the next day for deposit, but was returned as a forged instrument.

    The motel management then reprimanded the employee, asked her to sign a counseling statement ("first warning") and coerced her (implied threat of termination) to agree to a repayment stipulation that resulted in $500 being withheld from her wages in future pay periods.

    After this incident, motel management produced policy manuals (never shared with staff before) and provided instruction to all employees regarding the forms of payment that they could and could not accept.

    I believe employee was taken advantage of in this matter and that the motel owner had no legal right to deduct his $500 loss from her paychecks. She is considering the filing a complaint with the labor commissioner to seek the return of the $500. Can she also ask for penalties? Costs (legal, time)? If so, how much? Thanks for any advice or direction.

    --TomC

  • #2
    Absolutely she should file the claim for the illegal deduction.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_Deductions.htm

    However, filing the complaint with the DLSE is free, so there are no legal fees, costs, time, etc. to consider. Also, although a fine or penalty may be assessed the employer (although, it might just be a slap on the wrist "this is an illegal deduction, don't do it again"), such fines and penalties would not be paid to the employee.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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