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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5169
Experience:  Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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I have an employer issued cell phone. I also carry my own

Customer Question

Hello. I have an employer issued cell phone. I also carry my own personal phone for personal use. For some reason, my work phone went over the data plan for the single line and my employer wants to dock my pay for the overage data charges. Am I financially responsible for the overage they want to charge to me by docking my pay?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: sorry, california
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: full time, at will
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not that I can think of, thanks
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

Hello! I am a licensed CA attorney who is admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here to see my ratings information) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. According to the state of California, “Labor Code Section 224 clearly prohibits any deduction from an employee's wages which is not either authorized by the employee in writing or permitted by law, and any employer who resorts to self-help does so at its own risk as an objective test is applied to determine whether the loss was due to dishonesty, willfulness, or a grossly negligent act. If your employer makes such a deduction and it is later determined that you were not guilty of a dishonest or willful act, or grossly negligent, you would be entitled to recover the amount of the wages withheld.” So, the answer to your question is that an employer can deduct wages for something like this, but if you did not agree to pay for overages on data, in the employer cannot prove that this was due to dishonesty, wilfulness, or a grossly negligent act, then it is not allowed.

You may want to consider just writing a formal demand letter advising that this is illegal. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a demand letter (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

Follow up questions are free, so please feel free to ask away. You can also click here in the future to request me individually. If you don’t have any additional questions, were you satisfied with my service today?