EMPLOYEES - Your employer may be required by law to make deductions against your pay, such as income tax, employment insurance premiums, Canada Pension Plan contributions, union dues or other amounts authorized by a collective agreement. You can also agree to other deductions, such as health, dental or disability group insurance plans and payroll savings plans, as these provide a direct benefit to you.
However, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 in Ontario prohibits your employer from making deductions against your pay that are not legally required or agreed to by you.
Example: If you are a server, and your customer leaves without payment for the meal. Or if you damage your employer's equipment, causing a loss to the employer. Generally, the employer cannot deduct these losses against your pay, at least not without your express permission and, even then, it may still be unlawful for the employer to do so.
What's more, not only may this be prohibited by the legislation, but it may be a constructive dismissal of you by the employer.
A recent case in B.C. affirms this: Rotherberger v. Concord Excavating & Contracting Ltd. 2005 BCSC 729. The employee damaged (allegedly) the employer's equipment. The employer threatened to deduct it from the employee's pay. The employee disagreed. Eventually the employer sued for constructive dismissal and was successful.
Therefore, if your employer deducts, or threatens to deduct, anything from your pay that is not legally required or that you do not expressly agree to, you should speak to a qualified employer lawyer. Chances are, the employer is prohibited from doing so and, potentially, that may be a constructive dismissal of your employment.
This WARDS PC BLAWG is for general information only. It is not legal advice, or intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your circumstances.
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