How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12627
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a w2d employee in the state of texas. my employer has

This answer was rated:

I am a w2'd employee in the state of texas. my employer has indicated that if a client does not pay his account off then they are going to take that out of my pay. I do have an employment contract with the company and no where in the contract does it state that I have to pay back any monies on sales account that do not pay. also, I have not received, nor do I receive any commissions from the sales of the clients. The company has let me go about 6 weeks ago and I have a severance package that is my salary for the rest of the this year (2013). however, I am still listed as an active employee because I tried to get my 401k out and they said that they cannot process the paperwork until the termination date.
can the company take the pay out of my severance package.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Employers may not deduct from an employee's earned wages, so the policy you are describing is an unlawful labor practice. That said, employers have no legal obligation to provide severance except in certain extremely limited and likely non-applicable circumstances involving mass layoffs at large companies.

Thus, your employer is free to offset "wage deductions" against severance because the severance payments are entirely voluntary to begin with. Your employer could just as easily pay you no severance at all. What your employer cannot do is revoke the severance offer all together and then deduct from your actual earned wages. However, provided you are receiving all the wages you actually earned, your employer will typically be in compliance with the law even if they choose to reduce your severance based on a policy of deducting for unpaid accounts.

I hope that makes sense. 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 and kindest regards.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so even though I am not a terminated employee, meaning that no termination date is marked, he can take the money out of the pay he said that he would pay me. also, I forgot to mention that there was a pay schedule that they did with him on the past due and when he decided to let me go they wanted him to pay the account off in the entire which he did not have. they have also told the client that if he did not pay they were going to take it out of my pay. he had made his payments on time until that situation unfolded.

Thank you very much for your reply.

The relevant distinction here is that severance money is not "pay." It is compmensation an employee receives as consolation for their layoff and generally in exchange for a waiver of the employee's right to sue.

Actual earned wages cannot be forfeited in the manenr you describe, but your employer has no legal obligation to pay severance, even though you are not a "terminated" employee and even though your employer may have already indicated they'd pay you this money, as simply telling an employee you'll pay severance does not create a binding legal obligation to do so.

To put things simply, your employer has no legal obligation to pay you severance in any amount. So, they have virtually unfettered discretion to determine how they want to calcaulte the amount you'll be offered.

I am truly sorry that I don't have more favorable information to provide you, but you are here for accurate information about the law and it would be a tremendous disservice if I were to mislead you for the sake of providing good news.

Again, please do not hesitate to contact me with followup question if you have any. I am not done assisting you until you are absolutely satisfied with my service.
Patrick, Esq. and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you