Withholding Wages to Pay Employee Debts
A court rules that other methods should be used.

Hennessey v. Board of Education, 642 N.Y.S.2d 958 (1996)

Background. Here is a question that many church treasurers have asked—can a church ever withhold an additional portion of an employee's wages to collect a debt owed by the employee? This question can arise in a number of ways. Consider the following:

Example. A church provides an employee with a travel advance of $1,000. The employee's actual expenses are only $600, but he fails to return the difference to the church as required by the church's travel policy. The church treasurer would like to collect the difference through additional wage withholdings.
Example. An employee buys $200 of products from a church bookstore, but fails to pay for them. The church treasurer would like to collect the difference through additional wage withholdings.
Example. For several weeks a teacher at a church-operated preschool is accidentally paid an amount in excess of her hourly wage. The church treasurer discovers the mistake and would like to collect the overpayments through additional wage withholdings.

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Posted: November 1, 1997

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