Employers are generally prohibited from withholding payment or making deductions from a worker’s wages. Narrow exceptions to this rule include deductions for taxes, ordinary payroll deductions, or other voluntary deductions such as retirement contributions, health insurance and union dues. No employer may take deductions in order to penalize employees for perceived workplace violations, customer complaints, lateness (if the deduction is in a greater time increment than the employee is late), or for damage to company property. Similarly, employers may not take deductions that would constitute a “fee to work.” Employers also take indirect deductions when they fail to properly reimburse employees for travel time and travel expenses. Employers who take illegal wage deductions violate the Massachusetts Wage Act and can be liable for three times the amount of the employee’s unpaid wages plus attorney’s fees.
Our Massachusetts wage and hour attorneys have been successful in both individual and class action matters in recovering illegally withheld wages in the form of improper deductions. If you believe that you have been subject to illegal wage deductions, contact us today.