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March 18, 2010
Penalties for Employers in Relation to Wage Garnishments

In a BLR webinar entitled ‘Payroll: How To Legally Handle Tax Levies and Garnishments’, attorneys Clint Robison and Amy Jensen explain the penalties that may be given to employers regarding wage garnishments. The following information about employer penalties in relation to wage garnishments should be noted:

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  • There are stiff penalties for not complying with IRS tax levy
  • Under tax Code, employers can be held responsible for taxes, interest, and penalties on the levy
  • Non-complying parties can also be held responsible for collection costs and an additional penalty up to 50% of the tax due
  • The burden of risk for non-compliance lies with the employer
  • Generally, employers cannot be sued by an employee for complying with a levy notice
  • Penalties also lie where an employer terminates an employee in violation of Title III or improperly garnishes wages
  • Employers may be ordered to reinstate employees, pay back wages and restore improperly garnished amounts
  • Where violations cannot be resolved through informal means, the Department of Labor may initiate court action to restrain violators and remedy violations
  • Employers who willfully violate the discharge provisions of the law may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $1,000, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both

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 and can be reached at Amy Jensen is a senior employment attorney in the firm's Los Angeles oOffice, who provides counseling and litigation services to a variety of companies. She can be reached at

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