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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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my employer wants me to pay him back part of my salary because

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my employer wants me to pay him back part of my salary because he does not feel I deserved it, is this legal?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

No, an employer CANNOT require the return of wages because he or she felt that you did not deserve it or that the wage was otherwise too high. This would amount to a "deduction" from wages, which California law expressly prohibits in all but a few special circumstances.

More specifically, an employer can lawfully withhold amounts from an employee’s wages only: (1) when required or empowered to do so by state or federal law, or (2) when a deduction is expressly authorized in writing by the employee to cover insurance premiums, benefit plan contributions or other deductions not amounting to a rebate on the employee’s wages, or (3) when a deduction to cover health, welfare, or pension contributions is expressly authorized by a wage or collective bargaining agreement. (Labor Code Sections 221 and 224)

If an employer threatens retaliation or termination of employment against an employee who refuses to pay back wages that "weren't deserved," if for no other reason, the employee can report his or her employer's illegal demands to the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. For more information on filing a claim with the DLSE for discrimination, visit this link:

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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