Q&A with Jennifer Heald Castillo
Wage garnishment affects employers as well as workers
Q: What is wage garnishment?
A: A wage garnishment is a court order directed to an employer to withhold a certain amount of an employee's earnings for payment of a debt to a third-party creditor. Most creditors can't get a wage garnishment order until they have obtained a judgment stating the employee owes them money. Additionally, Oklahoma law limits the amount that can be withheld from an employee's earnings to 25 percent of the employee's disposable earnings for the pay period.
Q: How should an employer process a wage garnishment it receives on an employee?
A: Oklahoma law requires the employer to immediately deliver a copy of the wage garnishment to its employee by hand delivery or by first-class mail to the employee's last known address. After completing the garnishee's answer form and calculating the amount to be garnished, the employer must file a copy of its answer with the court clerk for the district court in which the wage garnishment was issued and deliver a copy to the attorney for the third-party creditor and to the affected employee no later than 10 days after receipt. The employer must then send the amount of the withheld earnings to the attorney for the creditor no later than seven days after the end of each pay period. A copy of the answer should accompany each payment.