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Employment Law/is this wrongful termination


Ok the situation is that my husband was in garnishment for a debt that was from a repossessed vehicle, and apparently the accounting firm his employer uses never answered the garnishment when it was first issued, so the prosecuting attorney obtained a judgment against his employer.  One of his bosses is an atty and a partial owner of the co. he works for, but he and the pros. atty. agreed on an amt to be garnished from my husbands check and as far as we knew when the deductions stopped coming out, we thought great its finally PIF.  Several months later this pros. atty now contacts my husband. employer and says they fell short of agreed balance by roughly 300.00 and b/c of that he now wants all of it (mainly interest) to the tune of $8000.00 give or take.  my husband decided bankruptcy was the best option b/c we are already in a bad place from having been garnished for so long.  Also we had no idea that the acct. firm never answered the orig. garn. and that there was a judgment against his employer.  So, he filed chap.7 and we think all is well.  all of the sudden he gets a call from his boss saying the prosecuting atty took his emply. to court and won so now his boss ( owner of company) had to pay over the 8000.00 still owed b/c they had a judgment on the employer's company.  Now, this is in Mississippi and its an at will state but his boss is asking him how is he going to pay it back, but my husband. told them he cant which is why he filed BR.  his boss even went as far as to say that the other owner of the co. isn't going to allow him to work there with all this happening.  we are thinking maybe we should agree to maybe 100/MO out of his check ( in writing of course) until he can find another job, but if they did fire him even with this being an at will state would he have any grounds for fighting it?  He had no control over what the accounting company did or didn't do,  he didn't even know a garnishment was served until the judgement was obtained on his employer.  We just don't know what to do and any info would be greatly appreciated.


Sorry to hear of this difficult situation.  However, you do have some protection.  Under Federal law, employers are prohibited from dismissing an employee because of a garnishment or any proceedings which may be brought to collect on the underlying debt.  Please see this US Dwpartment of Labor website for more information:

You'll also see on this site a link to enable filing a complaint should the employer take adverse action against your husband due to this debt issue.  However, I also urge you to contact a local attorney experienced in employment law to assist you.  If you don't know one, just do an Internet search on the name of your city or county and the words "bar association lawyer referral."  This will bring up sites where you can get a referral to an attorney who can advise you going forward.

In the meantime, you should do what you can to reach an accord with the employer on repaying the amount they had to pay.  

I hope this is helpful and that you are able to get this worked out.  

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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