Deductions From Wages May Be Illegal

Labor Law §193 prohibits an employer from making any deduction to an employee’s wages except [1] deductions required by law or [2] deductions authorized in writing by the employee and which are for the employee’s benefit. Deductions for an employee’s benefit are strictly limited to the categories listed in §193(b).

Executive employees are protected by Labor Law §193. Pachter v. Bernard Hodes Group, Inc., 10 N.Y.3d 609, 612 [2008]; Scarpinato v. East Hampton Point Mgt. Corp., 2015 NY Slip Op 31633(U).

Labor Law §193 applies where the employee was not paid the correct amount under the employment contract. Altamirano v Omni Childhood Ctr., Inc., 2012 NY Slip Op 52517(U); 51 Misc. 3d 1213(A).

Payments may not be deducted from an employee’s pay because of the employee’s clerical errors. White v. Health Conscious Natural Food, 2012 NY Slip Op 51076(U).

If a commission employee was paid for a sale to a customer whose check bounced or who complained and had to be issued a refund, this does not normally permit the employer to take the loss out of the commission employee’s next check. Morangelli v. Chemed Corp., 275 F.R.D. 99.

A deduction from all of a company’s commission salespeople of a shared general expense violates §193. Orgill v Ingersoll-Rand Co., 110 A.D.3d 573.

Labor Law §193 applies only to wages, and was not applied to deductions from an  executive employee’s “paid time off” account. Winters v. Am. Express Tax & Bus. Servs., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13564.

Under Labor Law § 198 (1-a), if the employee succeeds in establishing a violation of Labor Law § 193, he or she is entitled to penalty damages plus an attorney fee so that the employee can hire an attorney on a contingent attorney fee.