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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12942
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Im a truck driver. I used a company check, which I was never

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I'm a truck driver. I used a company check, which I was never trained to use, to hire a team to unload my trailer, this is company policy, however, the company I work for ended up taking $200.00 (the cost of having the trailer unloaded) out of my paycheck without giving me any notice or reason. I scanned the documents right after the trip was done and have proof that I did, and they said they didn't receive it. So while trying to resolve the issue over the phone, I remained professional and stated clearly that I was just looking for how I could fix this problem. Now because of it, I feel like I'm being singled out and treated differently and am now a target for retaliation from the human resources department which also happens to be the payroll department. For example, I've tried calling them numerous times and on my phone it goes straight to a busy signal, but when i call from a different cell phone or land line, the call goes straight through. Also, I requested a personal advance of $105.00, which usually goes through in a matter of minutes, but has now taken over 6 hours and still no sign of it going through.
Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

California law strictly regulates an employer's ability to deduct from employee wages and permits deductions only in limited circumstances as provided by statute. An employee mistake will NOT constitute a legitimate basis for wage deduction unless the mistake is the result of "gross negligence." An example of "gross negligence" would be crashing a company car while drinking, or burning paper inside and starting an office fire. The breach of care needs to be so substantial as to be wreckless.

What you describe certainly does not rise to that level, if it can even be regarded as negligent at all. Thus, your employer's deduction from your wages would typically be unlawful. Correspondingly, any retaliation you experience as a result of complaining about the unlawful deduction would also be unlawful.

An employee in your circumstance can file a wage claim with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to recoup the deducted wages, as well as any damages you incurred as a result of employer retaliation. However, refusal of an advance would not be a recoverable "damage."

To file a wage claim with the DLSE, visit this link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.

Labor Code 221 governs permissible deduction:

"It shall be unlawful for any employer to collect or receive from an employee any part of wages theretofore paid by said employer to said employee."
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

alright. thank you for your answer, one other question.. what should i do now to protect myself if they keep treating me differently? just document everything?

Tyler,

Thank you for your reply. Documentation is absolutely critical. Any time you believe you are being treated differently as a result of your complaint, you will want to make note of that. If the retaliation becomes severe, it would be wise to notify your employer in writing that you believe the basis for this adverse treatment is your complaint.

Retaliation claims are all about evidence, so the more documentation and "paper trail" you have, the stronger any potential claim will be.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
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