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Can an Employer Deduct Pay from a Salaried Employee?

An employee paid an hourly rate must be paid for every minute worked and at their hourly rate; there are very few exceptions to this employment law requirement. But what about employees that are paid a predetermined salaried amount each week or each month? Is it permissible for employers to dock their pay for one reason or another?

Does the FLSA Protect the Employer?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects employees from certain unacceptable workplace behaviors and legal implementations on behalf of their employers. One such protection is the prevention of pay docking as a form of punishment. No employee, no matter their job title, can be denied pay simply because they are not providing service that meets their employer’s standards.

There are, however, employees exempt from FLSA protection that can have their pay docked for other reasons. In most situations, an employee is considered exempt if they receive a minimum salary amount of $455 a week and perform certain duties. An employee that mostly or solely works with computers at their place of employment can also be considered exempt if they are paid an hourly wage of $27.63 or more.

When is Pay Docking Permissible?

If you are an exempt employee who is salaried, your employee can dock your pay. They just cannot do it to penalize you for work performance.

Wages can be docked under specific circumstances, including:

  • Employee misses days of work and cites “personal reasons”.
  • Employee misses days of work due to sickness or injury, and that employee will receive other compensation from the employer.
  • Offsetting any income the employee receives from jury duty, witness fee collections, and military pay.
  • Employee violates an important safety protocol and endangers others significantly.
  • Employee willingly violates acceptable workplace conduct and is placed on unpaid suspension, such as following a sexual harassment incident.
  • Employee uses unpaid leave using the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Employee does not work for a full workweek and it is that employee’s first or last week of employment under that employer.

Was Your Salary Unjustly Docked?

If, after reviewing the aforementioned list of acceptable pay docking scenarios, you believe your pay has been docked unjustly, you need to take legal action to set things right. Our Atlanta employment law attorneys at Buckley Beal LLP can help you understand your rights and legal protections, as well as represent you in any claims or lawsuits that may follow. Request your consultation today to begin.

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