Can my employer tell my co-workers when and if my check is being garnished?

Posted  02-05-2013

Ann Kiernan replies:

If a creditor gets a judgment against an employee (for example, for credit card debt, child support, overdue taxes, or delinquent student loans), one of the ways it can collect is garnishment.  A court issues a garnishment order requiring the employer to deduct money from the employee’s wages and send it directly to the creditor until the judgment is paid off.  A federal statute, the Consumer Credit Protection Act, says that employees cannot be fired because their wages have been garnished for any one debt, and it limits the amount of an employee’s earnings that may be garnished in any one week.

I could find no cases discussing your situation, but I can tell you that, as a general rule, employers should keep information about the garnishment—like all payroll information—confidential and share it only with those who have a legitimate need to know, such as the payroll administrator.  This can help protect the employee’s privacy, prevent unnecessary embarrassment, and should ensure that managers do not become aware of the garnishment and, therefore, will not take inappropriate disciplinary action because of it.

You may want to consult a local employment lawyer to further explore your rights.  Good luck.


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.