Can your employer withhold your pay for poor job performance?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Employment |

When you perform a job, you expect to receive payment for your work. Sometimes, you might wonder if an employer in California can withhold your pay as a punishment for poor job performance.

Understanding your rights can help you ensure that your employer treats you fairly.

California labor laws

In California, labor laws clearly dictate when and how an employer can pay an employee. The law requires employers to pay wages for all hours worked. Employers must pay at least the state’s minimum wage and they cannot withhold pay as a disciplinary action for poor job performance.

Pay deduction

An employer can legally make deductions from an employee’s wages in California under specific circumstances. These circumstances include instances where the law expressly authorizes the deduction, such as income tax withholdings and court-ordered wage garnishments. The employer can also make deductions if the employee voluntarily authorizes them in writing for reasons that directly benefit the employee.

Unlawful withholding of pay

If an employer withholds your pay as a punishment for poor job performance, they are violating California labor laws. You have the right to receive compensation for all hours worked, irrespective of the quality of your performance. This includes regular hours, overtime hours and, in some cases, even time spent on-call.

How to deal with wage withholding

If your employer is withholding your pay, you should first bring it to their attention. Sometimes, it could be due to a misunderstanding or error. If the employer continues to withhold your wages, you can file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. They can assist you in recovering your unpaid wages.

Employers in California cannot withhold your pay as a punishment for poor job performance. If you find yourself in such a situation, remember that California labor laws are in place to protect you. Always stand up for your rights and do not hesitate to seek help if you think your employer is treating you unfairly.