New York Law Protects Employers for Honoring Wage Garnishments

You may be aggravated (understandably) because your employer turned over part of your hard-earned income to pay a judgment creditor. Perhaps you did not get proper notice of the garnishment to prevent it from happening. That's a situation we address regularly.

But New York Law, CPLR § 5209 (Discharge of Garnishee's Obligation), protects the employer for honoring a lawful wage garnishment, and it discharges the employer's obligation to pay you the garnished sum. Honoring such a garnishment serves as a "complete defense" to any claim you want to bring against your employer.

So, say for example that your employer owes you $500 and then receives and pays a garnishment order for $100. The employer would still owe you $400, but you would have no claim against the employer for the $100 it paid to your creditor.

A prior, related blog, "Is your Employer Obligated to Investigate the Validity of an Income Execution" affirmed the basic rule that employers are protected and enjoy a "safe harbor" for honoring wage garnishments carried out by Marshals.

Speaking of Marshals, if you've reached this web site, there is a good chance that your wage garnishment has been—or will be—carried out by Marshal Henry Daly, Marshal Martin Bienstock, Marshal Gregg Bienstock, or Marshal Ronald Moses.

New York Law Has Very Specific Garnishment Requirements

New York law contains very specific requirements for when your wages or other funds owed to you can be garnished and how much can be taken from any single paycheck. There are also specific rules for garnishment of payments owed to independent contractors, and federal laws that may also apply.

If you have received an notice of garnishment, it is important to understand your rights under these laws. We may be able to stop the garnishment and resolve your legal problem.

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