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Employee Rights Regarding Improper Wage Deductions

Posted by attorney Christopher Canlas

In California, no employer shall make any deduction from the wage or require any reimbursement from an employee for any cash shortage, breakage, or loss of equipment, unless it can be shown that the shortage, breakage, or loss is caused by a dishonest or willful act, or by the gross negligence of the employee.

Permitting the employer to reach the employee’s wages by setoff would let it accomplish what neither it nor any other creditor could do by attachment and would defeat the legislative policy underlying the state’s wage exemption statutes, which is to insure that regardless of a debtor’s improvidence, the debtor and his or her family will retain enough money to maintain a basic standard of living, so that the debtor may have a fair chance to remain a productive member of the community.

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