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March 15, 2010
General Employer Obligations Regarding Wage Garnishment

In a BLR webinar entitled ‘Payroll: How To Legally Handle Tax Levies and Garnishments’, attorneys Clint Robison and Amy Jensen explain general employer obligations regarding wage garnishments and levies. The following steps can be taken by the employer to ensure that wage garnishment and levy notices are handled properly:

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  • Mailroom should be instructed to direct any levies or garnishments to payroll for handling
  • Maintain list of return addresses which commonly signify garnishment/levy. Examples include Child Support Divisions, IRS, ‘Revenue’ departments, or anything with the terms ‘Sheriff’, ‘wage attachment’ or ‘wage assignment’ on it
  • Time and date stamp receipt of the garnishment
  • Verify the validity of the garnishment or levy by checking employee status, source, proper service, proper form and verify that the form has been completely filled out
  • Prepare to respond to garnishing agency
  • Notify the employee
  • Remember that time is very limited
  • Set it up for reoccurring deductions, if needed
  • Create a file for the active garnishment
  • Keep separate files for separate employees and garnishments
  • Do not keep garnishment information in personnel files
  • Limit dissemination of information regarding garnishment to avoid inference of disparate treatment due to garnishment

Clint Robison is a highly regarded employment attorney providing counseling and litigation services to public and private companies. He is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Hinshaw & Culbertson, one of the largest and oldest law firms in the country. Clint can be reached at crobison@hinshawlaw.com. Amy Jensen is a senior employment attorney in the firm's LA Office, who provides counseling and litigation services to a variety of companies. Amy can be reached at ajensen@hinshawlaw.com.

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