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Employer Forcing Pay Deductions or Risk Termination Arkansas

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  • Employer Forcing Pay Deductions or Risk Termination Arkansas

    I was employed by my local town's major radio station as their news editor about a year ago. My daily tasks were to gather and prepare the news for broadcast, cover any important event and/ or meeting and conduct interviews. About 3 months into my employment my employer got fed up with mistakes i was making. I would make the occasional error of forgetting to take something out of the community calendar or have added something on the wrong day, or make an error on an obituary, or news story.

    In an attempt to stop any and all mistakes my employer forced me to sign an agreement where he would be allowed to deduct ten dollars from my pay for each and every mistake. If i didn't sign the paper I would have been fired, so against my better judgement i signed that stupid paper. His opinion is that there are to be NO mistakes what so ever of any kind no matter how big or small. I was payed a monthly salary of 1000 dollars before taxes, with my take home pay being about 430 dollars after taxes were taken out. The deductions were made to my paycheck before taxes were taken out and would add up to about 50 dollars per two weeks, sometimes less sometimes more.

    I know that in the position I held there I am exempt from overtime pay and such but what I am wondering is, was what he did legal? If it was illegal what can I do to nail him to the wall?

  • #2
    What do you want your employer to do?

    Originally posted by Vamp View Post
    I was employed by my local town's major radio station as their news editor about a year ago. My daily tasks were to gather and prepare the news for broadcast, cover any important event and/ or meeting and conduct interviews. About 3 months into my employment my employer got fed up with mistakes i was making. I would make the occasional error of forgetting to take something out of the community calendar or have added something on the wrong day, or make an error on an obituary, or news story.

    In an attempt to stop any and all mistakes my employer forced me to sign an agreement where he would be allowed to deduct ten dollars from my pay for each and every mistake. If i didn't sign the paper I would have been fired, so against my better judgement i signed that stupid paper. His opinion is that there are to be NO mistakes what so ever of any kind no matter how big or small. I was payed a monthly salary of 1000 dollars before taxes, with my take home pay being about 430 dollars after taxes were taken out. The deductions were made to my paycheck before taxes were taken out and would add up to about 50 dollars per two weeks, sometimes less sometimes more.

    I know that in the position I held there I am exempt from overtime pay and such but what I am wondering is, was what he did legal? If it was illegal what can I do to nail him to the wall?
    You signed a valid contract to have deduction taken out for each error. In my opinion, it is too late to ask for other opinions after signing the agreement. A competent attorney should have been consulted before signing the agreement. The employer has the right to set the policy and/or to have fired you for poor performance. In my opinion, you should be working on trying to eliminate your errors rather than "to nail him to the wall."
    I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

    A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

    Comment


    • #3
      As an exempt employee, first of all, the minimum salary is $455/wk. $1,000 per month salary makes you nonexempt, period. The other problem with this for an exempt employee (which now, based on your salary, you are not) is that deductions cannot be made from the salary of exempt employees for "quality or quantity of work".
      http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Ti...CFR541.602.htm
      Now, there may be an exception to the FLSA (there are more than 100 of them), but I honestly don't have time to search for them at the moment.

      Now, having said all that, if you don't perform to the expected standards you can be fired altogether, so it appears that is the elephant in the room (or one of them). Errors by newspersons and editors such as yourself can be the downfall of a media company.

      But I wasn't quite clear from your post, do you still work there?
      Last edited by Pattymd; 12-15-2009, 04:46 AM.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is a limited "small market" exception for radio/TV stations in the FLSA law, specifically 13(b)(9). Assuming that you actually qualify for this exception, then you must be paid minimum wage for all hours worked, but not the overtime premium. This minimum wage requirement is not legally waivable. If overtime is applicable that would also not be legally waivable.

        You can always file a state or federal wage claim for any minimum wage not paid.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DAW View Post
          There is a limited "small market" exception for radio/TV stations in the FLSA law, specifically 13(b)(9).
          That was in the back of my overloaded memory bank, somewhere.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Clever analysis

            Pattymd and DAW, I am always eager to learn from astute experts. If one look harder enough, one might find an escape clause for a lot of things in life. However, we have to look at ourselves first before blaming others.
            I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

            The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

            A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DrumMajorChange View Post
              Pattymd and DAW, I am always eager to learn from astute experts. If one look harder enough, one might find an escape clause for a lot of things in life. However, we have to look at ourselves first before blaming others.

              Did somebody blame somebody else?
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                Did somebody blame somebody else?

                Per DMC's earlier post I believe he means the OP should try not to make errors rather than blaming the employer for fining him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                  Did somebody blame somebody else?
                  My comment was regarding that you both clearly stated the law (FLSA law, specifically 13(b)(9)) and requirements for exempt employees. The OP could clearly used your analysis which was excellent and quickly get himself fired for poor performance.

                  The OP wants to nail his supervisor to the wall.
                  I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

                  "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

                  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

                  A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

                  Comment

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