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What Should I Do If My Paycheck Is Being Docked?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2014 | Wage: Minimum Wage, Wage: Overtime |

Wage Lawyer’s And Overtime Attorney’s Best, Top Answer: Can my employer dock my pay? My job is taking money out of my paycheck – what should I do? Can I be docked pay for breaking equipment?

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Our wage and hour attorneys frequently encounter situations where an employer has “docked,” -or reduced- their employee’s pay. Employers may do this for a variety reasons, such as poor performance of the employee, poor performance of the business, or as a means of discipline. More commonly, an employer will do this when the employee has damaged the property owned by the employer, or perhaps a customer. Thus, our clients often want to know: can my employer dock my pay?

While this practice is sometimes permissible, Ohio law is very specific about the circumstances in which an employer can dock an employee’s pay. Generally speaking, employers can only deduct those things which the employee has previously authorized. Plus, the Ohio Administrative Code 4101:9-4-07 specifically list out those things an employer can deduct, none of which expressly allow for deductions for disciplinary purposes or instances where an employee has caused damage to property:

  1. Savings accounts or similar savings plans for the benefit of employees, their families and dependents;
  2.  deduction constituting a contribution toward the purchase of United States defense stamps or savings bonds;
  3. Any deduction enabling the employee to repay loans to or purchase shares in credit unions organized and operated in accordance with federal and state credit union statutes;
  4. Any deduction for the making of contributions to governmental or quasi-governmental agencies;
  5. Any deduction for the making of contributions to legitimate charitable institutions;
  6. Any deductions to pay regular union initiation fees and membership dues, not including fines or special assessments, provided that a collective bargaining agreement between the employer and representatives of its employees permits such deductions and such deductions are not otherwise prohibited by law.
  7. Any deduction for the making of contributions to a state or federal political action committee.
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Even if the deduction is authorized by law, the employer may not make the deduction unless they have gotten the employee’s written authorization beforehand.

There are some other instances in which Ohio law allows deductions, but they require approval from the state before the employer can make them. However, the state will usually not permit these “other” deductions where (1) the employer benefits or profits, directly or indirectly, from the deduction, or (2) the employee did not agree to them in writing beforehand, or (3) if the employee did consent, but the consent was made a condition of employment by the employer. Thus, in most cases, disciplinary pay “docking” is not permitted by Ohio law.

If you are a salaried employee, your employer’s docking of your pay can have other implications, as well. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), salaried workers cannot have their pay docked, other than in very limited circumstances, such as when the employee is absent from work due to personal reasons (other than being sick), during a disciplinary suspension, or when the employee takes time off from work under the Family Medical Leave Act. If an employer makes inappropriate deductions, however, the employee may become non-exempt, meaning that the employee would become entitled to overtime at time and half for any hours worked over 40.

If you suspect your employer has made an illegal or improper deduction from your paycheck, or if you have been denied minimum wages or not paid time and a half for your overtime hours, or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio wage law. The opportunity to meet directly with a wage and hour lawyer is just a phone call away. Your best choice is not to wait.


The wage and hour law materials available at the top of the page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking yourself, “should I be paid for …,” “am I entitled to overtime for …,” or “my employer isn’t paying my for …”, then your best course of action is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular employment law or FLSA issue or problem. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Attorney Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.


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