Wage garnishments are often used in an attempt to collect for certain debts. The most common reason for wage garnishment is unpaid child support but there are other creditors that could actually file legal documents to place a garnishment on your wages. Garnishments force your employer to withhold a specified amount of your paycheck in order to repay your debt. In order for a wage garnishment to be legal, certain rules must be followed. If those rules are not properly followed, you may have the right to seek legal action yourself.

The amount of money that any creditor can have withdrawn from your paycheck is limited. Federal laws do allow your employer to take as much as 25 percent from your income but nothing over this amount. This percentage is taken after taxes have been withheld. Note that this maximum amount may be lower in certain states or in cases where your income is below a certain amount. You will need to check with an attorney to determine if the amount that is being taken out of your paycheck is a legal amount. Your employer will be responsible for determining how much is to be taken out of your earnings and if more is taken out than what is legally allowed, it is your employer who is legally liable.

You should note that while it is not legal for your employer to terminate your employment because of one garnishment, they can fire you for multiple garnishments. Federal law protects you against losing your job over a single wage garnishment but when multiple creditors file for garnishments, this law no longer protects you. Each state has a set of rules that govern wage garnishments so again, it is essential that you speak with an attorney if your wages are in threat of being garnished.

Any employer who terminates you wrongfully because of wage garnishments could face a penalty. If you have wrongfully lost your job or your employer has threatened to fire you, he or she may have to pay a penalty or could face misdemeanor charges. In some cases, that employer may be sentenced to up to twelve months in jail as a result of wrongful termination. He or she may also be required to pay you monetary damages as a result of wrongful termination. If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or you think that your employer is allowing more to be withheld from your paycheck than what is legally allowable, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

A lawsuit will require the assistance of an attorney who has a bit of experience in wage garnishments. Understand that you cannot file a suit simply because your employer is following the law and garnishing your wages. If however you feel that you have been fired because of a wage garnishment or you know that your employer is withholding more than he or she should, you may want to speak with an attorney to see what course of legal action you may be able to take.

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