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Last 2 paychecks withheld... Florida

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  • Last 2 paychecks withheld... Florida

    If I owe an educational reimbursement, can my last 2 paychecks automatically be withheld?

    I resigned from my last company earlier this month and had participated in their employee educational reimbursement program. According to the policy, if I resigned within 2 years of receiving any reimbursement, I would be responsible for paying it back to the employer. Nowhere in the policy did it state that my last 2 paychecks would be withheld to recoup this money, nor did I sign anything to this point.
    Is this legal for my company to do in FL? Nowhere is it stated in the policy that this was the practice for repayment of reimbursement money.

  • #2
    FL does not have a lot in the way of state specific labor law, meaning we are probably talking vanilla federal labor law (FLSA). This is sort of a grey area legally. The lack of you signing something is no big deal because that is not a federal requirement. The issue is that the feds have rules on deductions, and these rules were created in the 1930s-1940s and were not really directed specifically at this sort of thing. The rules basically protect minimum wage and overtime requirements. Basically the rules say that you must be paid MW/OT unless the deduction is "for the benefit of the employee". The employer will argue that is what these deductions are for. You would likely argue that the employer told you to take the classes and it was for their benefit. A judge who probably knows less then you do on this law and whose eyes are starting to cross will make a decision based on whose argument they like best. Under federal rules, it would be legal to pay you exactly MW/OT until the balance is recovered. By holding back the entire check, the "for the benefit of the employee" rule just kicked in.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf

    The available venues for recourse are a federal DOL wage claim, or a FL small claims court.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Was this a written policy? Did it say anything in it about how the money was
      to be paid back if you left before 2 yrs. were up? Did you sign anything?
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        All I signed was the application for the classes each term. This signature was also an acknowlegment that I understood the policy. Nowhere in the policy did it say anything about how money would be recovered upon termination.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok. You can try filing a wage claim with the federal DOL or a small claims
          court action as noted by DAW. You can sue up to $5,000 in small claims
          court in Fl. Over that it would have to be a "general" (higher) court action.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            Here is the thing. You owe the money. You can either let them recoup it from your paychecks which is easy, or cut them a check after you cash those paychecks. Either way, the net effect is the same. Personally, I'd go for the simple method.
            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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            • #7
              I do agree that even if you win the wage claim or court action for holding your
              paychecks, you do still owe the money.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

              Comment


              • #8
                The OP probably owes the money. This is not like the OP took out a loan or something. The employee took an education class. I would be very interested if I was the judge about just why the class was taken. Just who benefited from the class. If it is a generic class that the employee wanted to take, then, sure, the employee is likely out of luck. On the other hand, if (for example) the class was for a report writer associated with a custom program that the employer is one of the very few parties in the world to use, and the employer required the employee to take the class and as a condition of employment requires the employee to "voluntarily" sign the agreement, then I could see a judge raising their eyebrows on that point.

                The employer claiming that money is owed is not legally the same thing as the money actually being owed. A claim is not legally the same thing as a judgment. Many employers claim many things.
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                Comment

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