As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Congress recently passed a $2 trillion aid package designed to give relief to American people and businesses feeling the economic pinch of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of Americans aren’t working, as businesses are shuttered, and the relief package aims to provide some help to those Americans. Specifically, the bill provides $1,200 to just about every American, with various additional monies earmarked for Americans who may still need more help.
In Austin, it appears as if the management of an unidentified company believes that since its employees are getting those stimulus checks, their pay can be docked.
An employee of the company, who asked not to be identified, produced an email that they purportedly received that explained how the company would dock employees’ pay.
“[Employees will be put under a] temporary compensation reduction that is in line with the assistance that it receives from the federal government related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the email reads.
Specifically, up to 100 percent of employees’ paychecks on April 6 and April 20 will be withheld, based on the amount they’re receiving via stimulus checks. The company would also purportedly dock even more money — $500 per dependent for custodial parents of minor children, as that’s the amount the stimulus package includes for families of kids.
The employee accuses her employer of trying to save money on the backs of its workers who are feeling the economic pinch, rather than cutting costs in areas where the pain isn’t likely to be felt as strongly.
“The company that I work for is a national company and they make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit a year and instead of making sacrifices at the higher levels, they’re passing it on down to everybody else,” they said.
As to whether or not this type of thing is legal, an Austin labor attorney says probably not.
“I think that this violates at least one law that we know of out there,” Austin labor attorney Austin Kaplan.
Kaplan notes that Texas’ labor laws generally favor the employer over the employee, who can be fired at any time for any reason or no reason, with some exceptions.
But be that as it may, Kaplan says the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act states that if an employee is on the clock, they are to receive a certain minimum wage. As such, if the employer is cutting employees’ checks down to zero even though they’re working, the company could be in violation of the law.
Further, Kaplan notes that in his career, he’s never seen anything like this.
Another employee says that they will not go to work at the company if he’s not going to get paid, saying he’d rather stand in the unemployment line with his head held high than work for nothing.