Docking Pay as a Form of Discipline

If your employer is docking pay as a form of discipline, you need to consult with an experienced California employment law attorney right away.

Question:

Can my employer dock my pay as a form of discipline?

Answer:

Last week, we had an issue regarding an employee in which the employer made a decision to dock their pay. The employee had an issue that had come up, and the manager was upset. The manager contended that, as a result of my potential client’s misconduct, the employee’s pay would be docked one time. The employee only noticed it after the employee received their paycheck, realized it wasn’t full, and saw a $150 deducted from their pay. He had a question, and he went to the employer.

The employee Docking Pay as a Form of Discipline | California Employment Attorneyswent up to the manager and said, “You can’t do this! You can’t do this!” The manager said, “I can, and if you don’t like it, go to HR.” The employee went to HR and said, “They can’t do that. You can’t dock my pay because you don’t like how I did it,” and Human Resources sat everybody down and, sure enough, they restored the pay of $150.

In California the question comes up, “Can my employer dock my pay as a form of discipline?” Lo and behold, this employee was right, that under California law you can’t dock pay as a form of discipline, especially for conduct in the past. If the employee does the work, pursuant to the hourly rate or the yearly salary negotiated, you can’t deduct pay from that employee. An employer is prevented from going back in time and docking pay.

It was interesting, too, because ever since the employee had gone to the employer and complained about what they thought was unlawful conduct, the employee was concerned that they were going to be retaliated against for going to HR and raising those issues. The employee actually called about that and asked if they can be retaliated against. I told the employee that, at this point, you did what was right, you stood your ground, and, sure enough, you were right that an employer can’t dock pay of an employee as a form of discipline.

I encouraged the employee that they hadn’t been retaliated against and that they shouldn’t be retaliated against. Hopefully they’ll continue to have a long, great career with that employer, but if an issue came up in the future, then they should make sure that they keep our name and number and that we could assist and answer any questions that they have at that point. I tell a lot of my potential clients that you need a job more than you need a lawsuit. I’m more than happy to walk through with them what the current law is on any topic, including whether or not you can dock pay for a current employee for misconduct, and also what steps you should take in case you do complain as a current employee to make sure that your rights are protected.

If you have any questions as a current employee as to what’s happening at work, or you’re a former employee and you feel like you got retaliated against because you raised issues at work that you believe were unlawful, I encourage you to talk to a law firm. If that’s us, that’s great. Give us a call, and we’re more than happy to discuss those issues with you. Thanks.


Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California and have questions about docking pay as a form of discipline? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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