Tx.employer wishes to fine employees for not calling into work $100.00 per day; if employee quits without 2 weeks notice $100.00 per day = 10 working days notice = $1,000.00 fine; any handbook policy violated $100.00 fine. Ofcourse the employee would know about fines and sign his acknowledgement/approval before actually going to work for employer.

Any one know if this is not ok since employee gives consent before actually starting to work for employer?


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  • I assume the employer will dock the pay to get the money for the fine -- and that the employer is docking pay for time that was worked. It seems to me that the employer may wind up violating minimum wage laws and FLSA. Some states may prohibit "fines" in that manner.

    Or does the employer intend to suspend the employee without pay for the amount of time that equates to the amount of fine? It may work for non-exempt, but employer would have trouble with exempt status.

    The amounts that are identified seem to be rather high for some "technical" and procedural violations. What are they doing if the employee yells at a supervisor, for example? Or fails to meet a deadline?
  • Employees are paid a daily rate. Not hourly or salaried.
    No time off from work is paid. No sick leave/no vacation time.
    Employer contracts employee out and if employee does not work==does not get paid and neither does employer. So if employee is off work, employer is making at least $100.00 daily.
  • Yells at supervisor or minor violations/terminates employees
  • Since I am not an attorney obviously this is not a "legal opinion" but I believe here in Oklahoma you would run afoul of state law prohibiting an employer from soliciting fees or kick backs from employees to obtain or retain a job.

    What type of work are these employees doing at a flat daily rate? Sounds like a whole host of state and federal FLSA issues would be in play here, like minimum wage, overtime premiums, and the like. At $100.00 per day/violation, I hope that the employer is paying them at least $150.00 per day for an eight hour day, since otherwise they would be flirting awfully close to the minimum wage after a $100.00 offset.

    A wise attorney once told me - "There are a lot of perfectly legal business practices that are just plain stupid business practices." If this is a legal practice, it sounds like it falls into the latter category.
  • While your numbers may work for you and the employee acknowledges the policy, I could have all sorts of arguments on behalf of the employee. Can you imagine what an attorney could do with this? In my opinion (not legal) the fines is a poor practice and bad business. Not only are there FLSA conditions here, but I'm sure many other labor law problems. I can not imagine going to work for an employer that was so "hot" to take the money away after earning it to begin with.I'm curious where you came up with this policy and do you know of other employers using the fine system you outlined. In my personal opinion, you have crossed a line with many acceptable standards of employment.
  • This is an example of why we have the laws that we do. Many were passed to end abusive practices. This employer would have fit right in at the turn of the century - not the last one, the one before.
  • Sounds like a novel idea. Afterall, professional sports teams fine their players who misbehave, why shouldn't other employers? I'd like a legal opinion on this.
  • Texas Payday law says that an employer may withhold money from an employee's paycheck only in the following circumstances:

    An employer may not withhold or divert any part of an employee's wages unless the employer:

    (1) ordered to do so by a court of competant jurisdiction;

    (2) is authorized to do so by state or federal law; or

    (3) has written authorization from the employee to deduct part of the wages for a lawful purpose.

    There are very few cases discussing this law -- but I think that the Texas Workforce Comission (which enforces the Texas payday law) would fight the employer on this plan. First, the handbook type autorization does not seem specific enough (I can see a fact finder saying that the provision was buried in a long handbook). Second, although the purpose is not unlawful, I am not sure that the agency or the court would not find that it is against public policy. Third, if the employee's pay goes below minimum wage, or correct overtime is not paid due to the deduction, the employer can get in trouble under both federal and state law. Most employers woul not want to be the "test case" in this type of scenario.

    In my opinion, an employer is better served by using non monetary discipline to curb absentee problems (written warning or counseling, too many times and you are fired).

    Good Luck!
    Good Luck.
  • Gar: I'll bet if these employees were getting paid what the pro sports people are paid, they probaby wouldn,t complain if they were docked.
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