Is it legal to give a gift card to an employee and then dock a paycheck 2 weeks later for the gift card amount?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to give a gift card to an employee and then dock a paycheck 2 weeks later for the gift card amount?

The company I work for gave a $25 gift card at Thanksgiving as it does every year. The $25 is always listed on the following paycheck for taxation purposes. However, this time the $25 gift is listed then subtracted in deductions. This seems illegal since my money was put on a gift card without permission. Furthermore, I am having to pay taxes for a

Asked on December 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

What you describe is illegal: you *must* be paid for all work you did, and the employer may only deduct money from your wages with your consent or agreement (or as otherwise required by law, such as court-ordered wage garnishment), so the employer may not give you a "gift" then make you pay for it.
It's unclear what you can do however, as a practical matter: if the employer will not voluntarily correct this, your only options are to sue for the $25 (hardly cost or time effective) or file a complant with the state department of labor--always a drastic act, to file a complaint vs. your employer, and the dept. may not even act on such a small amount. You may have to simply accept this as a practical matter, even though it was illegal.

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