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Yes, it could be considered theft by extortion under Oregon law, which is a crime. Here is the statute:
(1)A person commits theft by extortion when the person compels or induces another to deliver property to the person or to a third person by instilling in the other a fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor or a third person will in the future:
(a)Cause physical injury to some person;
(b)Cause damage to property;
(c)Engage in other conduct constituting a crime;
(d)Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against the person;
(e)Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
(f)Cause or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action injurious to some persons business, except that such conduct is not considered extortion when the property is demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
(g)Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to anothers legal claim or defense;
(h)Use or abuse the position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or
(i)Inflict any other harm that would not benefit the actor.
(2)Theft by extortion is a Class B felony. [1971 c.743 §127; 1987 c.158 §27; 2007 c.71 §48]
It's also not considered a lawful deduction by an employer (though that would be a civil, not criminal, matter).
Under Oregon law, employers may legally deduct the following from employee wages:
- Deductions required by law such as taxes or garnishments.
- Deductions that are for the employee´s benefit such as health insurance premiums. The employee must sign a written authorization and the deductions must be recorded in the employer´s books and records.
- Other deductions authorized by the employee in writing as long as the employer is not the ultimate recipient of the money, such as charitable contributions.
- Deductions authorized by a collective bargaining agreement to which the employer is a party.
- Deductions for processing garnishments under ORS 18.736 (fee cannot be collected if garnishment is 25% of disposable earnings).
- A deduction from a final paycheck for a cash loan to an employee, if the employee has voluntarily signed a loan agreement, and the loan was for the employee´s sole benefit. A deduction from the final paycheck for repayment of a loan may not exceed 25 percent of the employee´s disposable earnings OR the amount of disposable earnings in excess of $218 per week whichever is less. Disposable earnings are generally net earnings after tax deductions and family support withholdings. See ORS 652.610(3)(e), ORS 18.385, ORS 110.303 to ORS 110.437, ORS 419B.408, and ORS 419C.600. More detailed questions should be directed to an attorney.
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