What wage deductions are unlawful in California?

Finding deductions on your pay stub can be normal, including contributions for taxes, insurance premiums and retirement benefits. But if you notice unfamiliar and unusual items, they could be enough reason to approach your employer and ask for more information.

You can trace back to when you authorized these deductions by learning more about them. They might be unlawful if your employer cannot clarify their details and circumstances. California has strict laws concerning wage deductions, specifying which are not allowed, such as:

  • Partially or fully taking tips and other gratuities meant for you alone
  • Employment requirements, including photos and other similar items applicants or employees need for work
  • Business-related expenses, such as uniforms or losses related to discharging employees
  • Medical exams required for employment, including checks necessary as a condition for the job or during the hiring process
  • Breakages, damaged supplies, equipment and cash shortages

However, state law does provide some exceptions based on the situation. For example, an employer could deduct losses appropriately if you committed misconduct or negligence intentionally, leading to damages. Still, these exemptions may only cover specific scenarios. If the deductions appear unreasonable or unethical, they might be violations, potentially warranting legal action.

Knowing how to exercise your rights as an employee

California law has extensive provisions to protect employee rights, especially involving wage and hour issues. If you encounter these incidents, it can be helpful to seek legal counsel immediately.

Experienced guidance can help you determine appropriate options, such as initiating an internal investigation or filing an official complaint. Understanding these options and what to do could be vital for exercising your rights, which can help address and deter similar employment law violations.