Q: My employer has been taking $10 off of every paycheck I've received in the last 6 years for a "free wellness center" x?
My employer says we have a "free wellness center" for all employees, but takes $10 from every paycheck I've received for the last 6 years. Is this legal? Ive never used this "free wellness center" so why do I have to pay for something I don't use? I never signed anything authorizing them to take money out of my paycheck. I'm being terminated, am I entitled to that money back?
It is unlawful for an employer to deduct any money from a paycheck other than regular payroll taxes unless you have authorized those deductions in writing (such as repayment of loans, overpayment, insurance premiums, etc.)
I suggest you consult an employment law attorney who will further examine your situation and explain your options. Most employment law attorneys in California offer free-of-charge initial consultations and thereafter may take your case on a contingency basis, meaning you do not have to pay attorney’s fees unless and until there is a positive outcome for you. They may also advance either all or partial costs of litigation.
You can look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section or go to California Employment Lawyers Association (www.cela.org), an organization whose members are committed to representing employees’ rights. Best of luck.
Maya L. Serkova
A: An employer may not make deductions from your paycheck unless authorized by law or authorized by you in writing. Thus, you likely have a claim for the illegal deductions and late payment penalties of 1 day's pay for each day late up to a max of 30 days' pay. You can seek to recover the illegal deductions going back 4 years in court and 3 years before the Labor Commissioner.
Employers are generally not allowed to make deductions from an employee's paycheck without the employee's consent or authorization, except in limited circumstances (such as required by law or court order). If you did not sign anything authorizing the deduction for the wellness center, then the deduction may be illegal.
Under California law, an employee who has been terminated or who resigns is entitled to receive their final wages, including any deductions, on their last day of work. If you believe that your employer has made an illegal deduction from your paycheck, you may be entitled to recover that money. You can file a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to pursue this claim.
In addition, if you were terminated in retaliation for questioning or challenging the deduction, that could be considered wrongful termination and you may have legal recourse for that as well. It may be advisable to consult with an employment law attorney for advice on your specific situation.
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