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When Is a Wage Deduction Improper?


There are only a limited amount of circumstances when an employer can legally deduct from employee wages. Those reasons are clearly stated in federal law and Ohio law.

Do you believe your employer improperly deducted from your wages? If so, you have rights. Connect with a Columbus employment attorney to learn how to pave a path to justice for yourself and your family.

Voluntary Payroll Deductions

Tax deductions are required by law. These payroll taxes are withheld from employee pay each time an employee is paid. It is then the employer’s responsibility to distribute these funds to the appropriate tax agencies, including federal income tax, medicare tax, social security tax, city tax, county tax, and more.

In addition to these tax deductions an employer is legally required to withhold, there are programs employees can voluntarily agree to. These types of deductions are designed for employees to contribute to programs if they would like. They are not obligatory and can include the following:

  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Eye care insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Payments into a flexible health savings account
  • Retirement or 401k plans
  • Stock purchase plans

Different benefit packages are offered at different companies. Sometimes voluntary deductions are paid out prior to tax deductions. In other situations, the voluntary deductions are made after tax obligations have been withheld.

In some situations, deductions can also be made for damage done to equipment by an employee. But in Ohio, these types of deductions can generally only be made when there is a written agreement.

When Deductions Are Illegal

An employer is not able to legally pay an employee less than minimum wage. So, if taking the cost of damaged equipment out of an individual’s pay (or any other deduction) results in the pay to be under minimum wage, the deduction is not allowed. This is assessed within each pay period.

In Ohio, the 2020 state minimum wage is $8.70 per hour in most circumstances. There are exceptions, it is essential your employer is paying the correct amount for your position. Wage, hour, and overtime mistakes are common violations, around the country and in Ohio.

When a question about employment law or employee pay arises, connect with an experienced wage and hour attorney. Employment lawyers who understand the intricacy of wage and hour issues can assess your situation and determine if a deduction was unlawful. Connect with a Columbus wage and hour attorney today.

Was your pay illegally deducted? Contact the employment lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.


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