Employees often fear that their personal lives, especially their financial affairs and any public records can come back to haunt them at work. As an example, many people in society today have lived or continue to live on the use of credit and loans. As a result, if something happens financially to the family, such as an illness or FMLA leave, the loss of a job, divorce, etc, they may fall behind on payments. When this happens, a creditor does have the right to sue that person and even ask the Court to force the person’s employer to hand over a portion of their wages to pay back the creditor. In Massachusetts, a Plaintiff can ask the court to force the employer to hand over up to 15% of wages.
When a wage garnishment happens, or creditors start contacting an employee’s job, many employees have an unreasonable fear that the employer will be upset with the employee for letting this happen and cause the employer to incur additional administrative expenses. As a result, the employee is afraid that the employer will fire them or take some other form of adverse employment action. However, this fear is unjustified and frankly would be considered a wrongful termination and a violation of the Federal law.
More specifically, it is unlawful for an employer to fire or take any adverse or negative action against any employee due simply to the fact that the employee’s wages or salary has been garnished by a creditor, pursuant to the Consumer Protection Credit Act, 15 U.S.C., 1674. Now this is not to say that if your salary is going to be divided and paid to someone other then you, it is a good thing, and if it does happen, you would be well advised to seek the advise of a lawyer who may be able to stop this garnishment, but at the end of the day, your job should not be at stake just because of a financial hiccup that has nothing to do with your work.