Generally, excluding taxes and lawful garnishments, Oregon wage and hour law forbids employers from taking any wage deductions (payroll deductions) without your prior written authorization. Statute. Some wage deductions (payroll deductions) that are exclusively for the employer’s benefit may not lawfully be deducted even with your written authorization. BOLI Deduction Answers.
To track payroll deductions from employee’s wages, Oregon law requires employers to provide their employees with itemized wage statements on each payday. The wage statements, paycheck stubs, or check stubs, must show the amount and purpose of each payroll deduction. If your employer made an unlawful (illegal) payroll deduction from your wages (paycheck), you have a wage claim lawsuit and are likely due additional damages, civil penalties, and/or penalty wages. See ORS 652.610(3). The same statute determines what Oregon employers may deduct from final paychecks. Thus, final paycheck deductions and during employment deductions are mostly the same. The one final paycheck deduction that is different relates to “a written agreement between the employee and employer for the repayment of a loan made to the employee by the employer.” ORS 652.610(3)(f). Like all deductions, there are specific requirements for the deduction to be lawful. While there are many requirements, one deduction requirement that many employers will screw up is that they will over deduct wages. The employee must retain “75 percent of the disposable earnings of an individual are exempt from execution.” ORS 18.385.
The potential damages in a unlawful (illegal) paycheck deduction (payroll deduction) lawsuit vary by the facts of the case. The unlawful payroll/paycheck deduction may have violated more than one Oregon wage and hour law. Generally, under Oregon wage and hour law, if the employer made a wrongful payroll/paycheck deduction from wages, the employee likely is entitled to the wages deducted from the paycheck, plus the greater of $200 or their actual damages.
Another Oregon wage and hour law that may have been violated by the unlawful (illegal) paycheck deduction (payroll deduction) is minimum wage. If the improper paycheck deduction drops the employee below the Oregon minimum wage, the employee likely due a civil penalty. Oregon Minimum Wage Page. The civil penalty is equal to eight hours of wages for each day your employer failed to pay the deducted wages. (The penalty is limited to 30 days). Where the employer provides the required paycheck stub, these claims tend to be fairly straight forward for the lawyers at Schuck Law who focus their practice on these wage deduction claims.
Another Oregon wage and hour law that may have been violated by the wrongful (illegal) payroll deduction (paycheck deduction) is overtime. If the illegal (unlawful) payroll deduction causes the employer not to pay all overtime wages, the employee is likely due a civil penalty under Oregon’s overtime wage laws. Oregon Overtime Page. The civil penalty is equal to eight hours of wages for each day your employer failed to pay the deducted wages. (The penalty is limited to 30 days).
Another Oregon wage and hour law that may have been violated by the wrongful (illegal) payroll/paycheck deduction is that the employer failed to timely pay all wages at the end of the employment. Oregon Late Pay Page. If the employee is no longer employed, the employee may be due penalty wages for the employer’s failure to pay all wages at termination. Penalty wages are calculated my multiplying the regular hourly rate by 8 hours per day for a maximum of 30 days. In most cases, the penalty wages will be several thousand dollars in addition to the unlawful paycheck deduction.
Under Oregon wage and hour payroll deduction law, employers generally cannot make paycheck deductions for till shortages, gas pump overages, eat and run, shoplifting, or most other business expenses. These are a common employer errors which likely entitle you to unpaid wages, damages, and possibly civil penalty and penalty wages under Oregon Wage and hour law. Sometimes because the paycheck deductions are very regular, additional penalties can be recovered.
My employer deducts gas over pumps from my wages, is that legal?
Under Oregon wage and hour law, employers generally cannot make a payroll/paycheck deduction for gas over pumps. This also is a common employer error. If your employer makes a payroll/paycheck deduction for gas over pumps you likely are due wages, damages, and a civil penalty and/or penalty wages.
What if my employer deducts wages for child support, but does not pay my child support?
The payroll deduction for child support is required by law. Where an employer follows the law and deducts and pays the child support, there is no wrongful payroll deduction. However, in Oregon, if your employer makes a payroll/paycheck deduction for child support from your wages but
does not pay the obligation to the state, you likely have a unlawful paycheck deduction claim for wages, damages, and a civil penalty and/or penalty wages.
Where the damages for the payroll check deduction are small, the law provides a $200 as the minimum amount of damages for the paycheck deduction. This minimum damage amount for the paycheck deduction does not foreclose the other remedies discussed on this page.
Can my employer deduct for healthcare costs?
Under Oregon wage and hour laws, the payroll deduction for health insurance is allowed only if you authorize it, and if your employer actually pays the health insurance. Otherwise it is likely a wrongful payroll deduction entitling you to unpaid wages, damages, and likely a civil penalty and/or penalty wages.
My employer deducts “eat and run” or “dine and dash” from my wages, is that legal?
Under Oregon wage and hour law, employers generally cannot payroll deduct to cover when a customer fails to pay their food bill at a restaurant. Many employers unlawfully deduct for unpaid meal tickets from their employee server’s (waiters’ or waitresses’) wages. (Eat and run). If your employer makes payroll deductions for eat and run or dine and dash situations from your paycheck, you likely have a good wrongful payroll deduction wage claim lawsuit.
Can an employer withhold pay for any reason?
Almost no. Oregon law sets the items for which an employer may deduct. ORS 652.610(3). Anything not expressly allowed by the statute, may not be deducted from your wages. For instance, employers may deduct for taxes, child support, garnishments, items authorized by employees IN WRITING. Even these have limitations under Oregon law. Only so much may be garnished for child support or debts. The amount that may be deducted as a garnishment is based upon the amount of wages due the employee and the type of garnishment. Also, there are limitations to what the employee can authorize. The purpose for the authorization matters. If the authorization is simply to defray employer losses, the deduction is still unlawful.
Wage Claim Lawyers. The Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers) at Schuck Law, LLC focus their law practice on Oregon wage claim lawsuits. Our Oregon wage claim lawyers or attorneys regularly enforce Oregon paycheck deduction laws by prosecuting wrongful payroll/paycheck deduction wage claim lawsuits for employees throughout Oregon. In addition to the claims for damages outlined above, an employee may also sue to recover their costs, disbursements, and lawyer fees incurred in prosecution of the Oregon unlawful paycheck deduction wage claim lawsuit. This allows the Oregon wage claim attorneys at Schuck Law, LLC to take most Oregon wrongful paycheck/payroll deduction wage claim lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This means, with minor exceptions that are within your control, that our Oregon wage claim attorneys only get paid their attorney fees if they recover wages,damages, or penalties for you.
The Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers) at Schuck Law, LLC enforce Oregon deductions from wages laws by prosecuting Oregon wrongful paycheck/payroll deduction wage claim lawsuits throughout Oregon, including but not limited to, Portland, Astoria, Beaverton, Portland, Bend, Clackamas, Coos Bay, Portland, Grants Pass, Hillsboro, Hood River, Portland, Klamath Falls,Lincoln City, Portland, Madras, McMinnville, Portland, Medford, Portland, Sandy, St. Helens, Portland, and Tillamook.
Google By David Schuck