Lawsuit claimed worker was “pressured” to make donations

Charitable deductions straight from paychecks can be a great way for employees to easily donate to valuable causes. But just as with other wage deductions, the rules must be followed when Payroll sets them up.

One employer did everything right with its voluntary payroll deductions for an employee charity–which kept it from paying out big bucks when a worker sued.

In Moshtagh v. The Home Depot USA Inc., an employee claimed that the employer’s charitable deductions were unlawful. He said he was pressured into donating to the charity and that it was established primarily for the employer’s benefit.

However not only did the employer obtain the worker’s written consent before making any deductions, as required by law, it also had proof the charity primarily benefited employees in financial need.

The employee had no evidence that he was forced to set up the deductions, so his case was dismissed.

Getting it in writing

While federal law places restrictions on the types of pay deductions that can be made for the convenience of the employer (e.g., uniforms, tools), there aren’t any specific restrictions on deductions for workers’ convenience, such as donations to charities.

State laws may be more specific, though. Your best bet is to authorize these deductions in writing first.

Cite: Moshtagh v. The Home Depot USA Inc., No. 2:19-cv-02105-RSM, U.S. D.C., W.D. Washington, 5/13/21.