Q: can a company with under 50 employees deduct pay as a punishment and then give that deduction to another employee's rais
My husbands pay was docked 4 dollars for being late a couple of times. His boss under a contract said in a month he would get it back. Instead he never gave it back and gave the extra 4 dollars to give another employee a 4 dollar raise. There is more to this as well. My husband suffered some emotional stress at work by employees and stress period. He ended up in the hospital with heart palps. HIs employer fired him while on medical leave.
An employer can NEVER dock pay for anything. It is irrelevant what the money is being used to. His employer is violating the law.
If the heart issue was caused by conditions in his workplace, it may give rise to a claim for workers compensation claim.
As to the termination, it is unlawful for an employer of 5 or more employees to terminate someone because they needed medical leave, but it is not unlawful to terminate an employee while on medical leave if the termination would have occurred anyway had he not been on leave.
It would be a good idea for your husband to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore his facts and determine his options. I would suggest he look either on this site, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning your husband can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for him. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep him from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to both of you.
First, it is illegal to "dock" or reduce someone already earned compensation based on a disciplinary matter like being late. As a result, your husband is entitled to all pay earned.
Second, to the extent, your husband's former employer reduced your husband's pay by $4.00 per hour on a going forward or prospective basis based on poor performance or being late, the former is free to do so as long as your husband is still paid minimum wage and he is an at will employee.
Third, your husband's former employer may have violated the law, if your husband's former employer fired him while he was on a protected medical leave. You should consult with an employment lawyer, because your post does not contain sufficient information to determine which medical leave laws might apply such as: (i) how many employees does the employer have; (ii) how long was your husband already out on medical leave; and (iii) had your husband worked for the former employer for at least 1 year and worked 1250 hours in the last year.
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