What are my rights as an employer when I fire an employee and deal with his/her final pay?

When an employee is fired or unexpectedly quits, many managers and owners let their emotions get the best of them and take their frustrations out on the employee who was fired/quit by deducting as much as they can from his/her final paycheck. Handling a situation in this manner can be very risky, and the following information should be kept in mind to prevent any unnecessary damage to either party:

First, former employees are alumni of your organization and could potentially do damage to your brand by telling others how they were treated while working for you. In the long run, it is better to let the little things go to help mitigate any hard feelings. Second, make sure you are on solid footing when making the deductions: check your state laws before holding their final check; have a signed document on file allowing the deductions; check your state laws to see who benefits from the deductions; do not deduct to the point where the employee’s final pay is below minimum wage for actual time worked; check state laws for deducting vacation or PTO; and finally, be reasonable.