Can I be Fired for Having My Wages Garnished?

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Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) allows wages to be garnished (a portion of an employee’s paycheck withheld to pay off a debt) in order to pay an outstanding debt to credit card companies, banks, other financial lenders, and/or government agencies as in the case of court judgments, child support, taxes, and student loans. The CCPA also provides protection against job termination when a garnishment is in place and limits the amount of money that can be sought per paycheck.

So, no. Your employer can’t fire you for having a garnishment order. However, some states do not provide protection for multiple garnishments. Employees are protected for one, but multiple garnishments can be cause for termination. This is not the case in Florida. In the Sunshine state, an employee can never be fired for a reason relating to wage garnishment.

What Garnishment Orders Include

Garnishment orders apply to bonuses, salaries, commissions, and retirement income. Tips are not included. Your wages cannot be garnished by more than 25% of your disposable income or the amount by which your weekly wages exceed 30 times the minimum wage, whichever is lower.

Garnishments are a matter of public record and will remain in effect until they are paid off or bankruptcy is declared.

Why Garnishments are Unappealing to Employers

While your job’s not in jeopardy based solely on having a garnishment in effect, it is important to realize what that looks like to an employer. While they may not be able to fire you based on your garnishment, Florida is an at-will state meaning employers can fire you for no reason at all. If you think you’ve been fired based on your garnishment, you will need to prove it and we can help.

Employers dislike garnishments for several reasons:

  • A garnishment is established because you had a debt you didn’t pay. This makes employers question your reliability and ability to handle finances – personally and professionally.
  • Employers may worry that your financial problems may interfere with your ability to concentrate on the job.
  • Since employers must hold back the wages from you, it adds another layer of administrative process to their payroll.

Seek the Help of an Employment Attorney

If you think you have been terminated based on a garnishment order, you need legal counsel. Speaking with a capable employment attorney will help you understand the process and whether you have the grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. It will also bring to light the information and proof you need to receive justice. This is not something you have to weather alone. Our team can help and provide the counsel you need to mount an effective fight and get what you deserve.

If you feel you’ve been terminated by your employer because of a garnishment order, or you were defamed based on the order and are now finding it difficult to find employment, speak with one of our wrongful termination attorneys at Wenzel, Fenton, Cabassa P.A. and schedule your free consultation today.

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