What is the law regarding thelegality of payroll deductions from an employee’s pay?

UPDATED: Jul 26, 2011

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What is the law regarding thelegality of payroll deductions from an employee’s pay?

As an OH business owner. If I supply my staff with items they are to use on the job should they quit or be fired can I legally recoup the cost of those items if they are not returned? Example: T-shirts with company logo to be worn at work events. Follow up: Can I legally deduct their pay if I have them sign a contract stipulating they have to return the items or face the penalty of having the cost of the items deducted from their last pay check?

Asked on July 26, 2011 Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Potentially you could have a written agreement with your employees signed by each one of them and you where items provided to them by you such as shirts with company logos would be returned by them at the end of their employment, but why would you want a used shirt back? Would you give the used shirt to a new employee or would you be more inclined to give a new shirt to a new employee? How would the new employee react to getting a used shirt as opposed to a new shirt to wear at a company event to be a representative for your company?

The cost of deducting unreturned items' costs from an employee's last paycheck is fraught with problems. Most states do not allow such a practice and it would be illegal. Even if legal, it does not look good for you as an employer.

Suggestion: Give the shirts to the employees to wear at any time with no expectation for their return. If the employees wear the shirts with your company's logo on weekends and off work, you are getting free advertising and exposure for your business.

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