Can You Be Fired for a Wage Attachment?

Your employer can't fire you for one wage attachment. But if you have more than one, the law is different.

Your employer may consider a wage attachment a hassle and may threaten to fire you if you don’t settle the debt right away. Here's what the law does and doesn't require.

(To learn about wage attachments, see If Your Wages are Attached: Your Rights.)

Federal Law on Protection From Firing for Wage Attachments

Under the law, however, an employer cannot fire you because your wages are attached to satisfy a single debt. (15 U.S.C. § 1674(a).)

But, if two judgment creditors attach your wages or one judgment creditor attaches your wages to pay two different judgments, federal law does not protect you from being fired.

State Law May Provide More Protection

Under state law, however, you may have protection until you have three or more attachments. To learn how to research the law in your state, see Nolo's Laws & Legal Research Center.

Work With Your Employer

Most employers will work with employees who are honestly trying to clear up their debt problems. If your wages are attached, talk with your employer and explain that you are working hard to settle the matter as soon as possible. If, however, you are fired because your employer was not aware of the law or because your employer was “suddenly” unhappy with your work, consider filing a complaint. 

For more on what creditors can and cannot do when collecting your debts, see Debt Collection: Repossessions, Wage Garnishment, Property Levies, Liens, and More.

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