I just hired someone and then got notice that their wages are garnished. Should I fire them?

We recently got this question from a consultant friend of ours:

“I have a question as I have a client that recently hired somebody and shortly after she started he got a request for garnishing her wages to pay off $3,200.00.

“He’s not sure how to handle this and even if he should keep the team member. What would be your recommendations? It has set off the red flags for him, and I am not sure how to handle this or what to recommend.

“Thank you in advance for your help.”

This was our answer:

It isn’t necessarily an issue but requires a bit more investigation.

Garnishees can come from a lot of different things — unpaid parking tickets might be an example of something causing a garnishee where there might not be an employment implication.  It could also be a financial dispute with an ex-spouse.  It could also be an unpaid fine for a criminal conviction, which is obviously more concerning.

It is important for the dentist to understand WHY the employee’s wages are being seized, so he or she needs to dig into this, and ultimately make a decision about whether this person represents an unacceptable level of risk to the practice.

Of course, it isn’t a good idea to take the employee’s word for what happened; your client should ask to see the paperwork.

Also, it’s a good time to consider whether the background checking that was done when this person was hired was sufficient.  Were former employers contacted?  Was the applicant tested for drug use?  Some information on checking backgrounds when hiring is here — https://www.prosperident.com/how-not-to-hire-the-wrong-people-in-your-practice/.  If screening done at the time of hiring was lax (and it often is), now is a good time to complete the background checking that should have been done before this person was hired.

Clearly, the garnishee means that the employee is in a precarious financial position — obviously, they don’t have $3,200 available to settle this debt. If this person is a single mom living in a rented apartment, I fully expect there to be financial issues.  However, if this person drives an SUV and lives in an expensive house, the fact that they don’t have $3,200 would really concern me.

I’m happy to speak with your client if he or she wants to discuss further.

Do you have questions about embezzlement?  Give Prosperident a call at 888-398-2327 or send an email to requests@dentalembezzlement.com