Is it legal for my employer to dock my pay 1000 because my spouse did not fill out an online health survey?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to dock my pay 1000 because my spouse did not fill out an online health survey?

I am a school district employee. My district requires employees and their
spouses to complete an annual physical and complete an online health survey.
This is NOT an insurance company directive. We both completed the physical but
my wife who is not a district employee did not do the online survey. My
payroll department notified me that they are deducting 1000 from my paycheck in
monthly installments beginning in July 2017. Can the legally do this? The
district is dropping this requirement next school year Starts in July 2017, but
they are still fining me.

Asked on May 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, they may NOT do this except as below. The law is clear that there are no payroll deductions without employee consent (other than as otherwise required by law: e.g. court- or IRS-ordered wage garnishment). They can't deduct money for failing to take an online survey. 
The exception would be IF you had notice that under the district-provided health insurance, if an employee spouse fails to do the survey, then there is a $1,000 surcharge and you, in knowledge of that requirement, still took the insurance; in this case, you could be considered to have agreed to it.
But other the above--i.e. a policy you demonstrably consented to, even if you did not consent to this specific deduction at this time--they can't do this, and you could potentially file a complant with the department of labor or sue for the money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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