Generally speaking, your employer cannot fire you for having a wage garnishment, unless you have more than one. I go into more detail in this video.
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Hello, this is Darrell Castle. I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and on this video, I’m talking about wage garnishment, specifically I’m trying to answer the question of whether or not your employer can fire you or terminate your employment here in Tennessee because you get a wage garnishment.
The answer to that question, generally speaking, is “no,” because it violates federal law. If you get one wage garnishment, you’re protected by federal law from being terminated for that. But, if you get more than one then you’re not protected.
I hope that makes sense to you, so you need to restrict your wage garnishments to 1 if you think your employer is the kind of person or the kind of company that would fire you because you get a wage garnishment.
Those are aggravating and kind of cumbersome for an employer to deal with – no employer really wants to deal with them. But he’s required by law to deal with them. He has to deduct that money and if he doesn’t deduct it by court order, he could be liable for the money himself. But, it’s worse than that – he could perhaps be held in contempt of the court that issued the garnishment order, so it is very important that the employer withhold that money.
The best way to handle it is not to get a wage garnishment to begin with. If you get sued on a debt – and you have to be sued on certain types of debt to be garnished like credit card bills, medical bills, things like that. They have to get a judgement from a court to be able to send a wage garnishment through. Judgement just means an order signed by a judge. So a lawsuit has to be filed, you have to be served with it and you have to be given notice to appear and things like that.
There are other creditors that don’t have to go that route. Federal income tax, some state and local tax, child support and past-due child support. Those are two different things. Child support orders now in Tennessee always come with a wage assignment. In other words, the judge can take the money from your pay if he wants to as soon as he issues the child support order. And he will usually do that unless you have a history of payment and a solid job – things like that. And then your ex can go into court and get a child support deduction order for past-due child support. Also, in some cases, student loans that you might be in default on to the federal government.
But the primary answer on whether or not your employer can fire you – the answer is generally “no,” but keep in mind that people sometimes do things they’re not supposed to, so the best way is to prevent getting a garnishment to begin with, so to do this, you might want to consider seeing a bankruptcy lawyer.