On my answer How can I handle my company docking my pay due to poor quality of previous consultant's work for customer? I got the following notice (this is what it says in my Inbox):

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

I have never seen such a message before, neither the message itself nor the box where it is put in. Where does it come from? Is it from a moderator?

And if so, what am I supposed to do? I honestly have no idea what this is referring to. The only thing which was pointed out in the comments was to point out which law it was breaking. But given that this comment only has (at this point in time) three upvotes and a contradicting comment has 18 upvotes I thought the vast majority agreed with me that this is not necessary.

1 Answer 1



Having looked at a few more answers though I removed the notice on yours and added the general notice to the main question

Is it from a moderator?

Yes. Only moderators can add these notices.

I honestly have no idea what this is referring to.

I added this notice. The reason I added it is that your answer starts out with:

  • "Deducting your pay is obviously illegal"
  • "If they still insist, make them aware that this is illegal"

This is a fairly substantial claim to be making without any supporting evidence.

If it's "obviously illegal" it should be straightforward to expand on how specifically it's illegal in the OP's jurisdiction as well as how it relates to their contract.

  • 1
    Thanks for clarifying, now I am at least not as confused as before anymore. But I still don#t get the reasoning behind this. In another answer, your moderator colleague Lillienthal also states "They can't simply decide not to pay you. This is plainly illegal.", which to me is basically the same claim and there is not such notice on this answer.
    – dirkk
    May 8, 2017 at 18:57
  • 1
    Additionally, I feel like these claims are common knowledge like a claim "Slavery is illegal" (for which I also don't know a law by heart) would be. That an employer can not simply deduct pay seems obvious to me, but I don't know the Italian law (and I don't speak Italian). But as a citizen of another EU country I am still fairly certain that there is a common standard every country has to adhere to.
    – dirkk
    May 8, 2017 at 19:00
  • @dirkk one difference is your answer is based on using the fact that it is illegal, whereas Lilienthal's answer talks about the process (though, it's still pretty weak on the "citation" aspect). The legal aspect is a much smaller piece to their answer. Having looked at a few more answers though I removed the notice on yours and added the general notice to the main question.
    – enderland
    May 8, 2017 at 19:01
  • @dirkk "That an employer can not simply deduct pay seems obvious to me," this depends a lot on the employment contract the OP of the question has, too. Without knowing that it's hard to really conclusively say (though I strongly suspect this employer action is pretty illegal).
    – enderland
    May 8, 2017 at 19:02
  • Thank you for removing the notice, I appreciate that. However, I think maybe the confusion is about our different cultural backgrounds (based on your profile I guess you are from the US). In the same way the at-will contracts are unheard of within the EU, I suspect it is the same thing here. At least for Germany (were I live) I can say for certain that such a clause could not exist in a contract (and if it did it would be unlawful and could be disregarded) - As I said I can't say for sure the same about Italy, but I strongly guess it is similar to other EU countries.
    – dirkk
    May 8, 2017 at 19:10
  • @dirkk There is no common standard when it comes to EU law. It's true that all countries I'm familiar with have a minimum wage law but some might not have the employee protections that prohibit employers from charging costs through to employees. So when it comes to making a legal claim you need to back that up. In my answer I summarised how Italy covers this which is via an "average minimum salary". Since that's not the focus of the question I didn't expand on it, but it's enough to verify that there is a minimum.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    May 8, 2017 at 19:11
  • Adding to that is the fact that Italy uses employment contracts and those include salary and that is why I say the employer can't just unilaterally decide not to pay an employee. In most countries breaches in employment contracts also violate employment laws making it technically illegal but that's something to ask a lawyer. I usually use the colloquial meaning of the word. In short I agree with the notice since it's not obvious to me from reading it that it actually is illegal. You provide no reference for why this is the case and don't work in the country in question.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    May 8, 2017 at 19:11
  • And even for Germany (the jurisdiction I know best) there would not be a simply reference I could show (I mean, there is no law specifically for this case). It is obvious from the connection of a lot of laws and ruling by courts and I would say it is also obvious for 99% of people you ask on the street, but not that simple to show a reference.
    – dirkk
    May 8, 2017 at 19:12
  • 2
    Frankly, basing questions like this on guesswork is not something I can approve of. Sure, Europe shares common values and some baseline rights and employee protections are available throughout the eurozone and to some extent also exist in the US. But the particulars here matter, especially when it comes to tricky subjects like what an employer can and can't deduct. There are plenty of issues where people think "that's illegal" when it actually isn't. As an example: 99% of people on the street in the US will tell you an employer can't ask if you're pregnant. But he can. That's not illegal.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    May 8, 2017 at 19:14
  • 1
    @Lilienthal I get your point. I tried to change my answer to try to accommodate your concern. Not sure if it really improves the answer, but I tried!
    – dirkk
    May 8, 2017 at 19:25
  • @dirkk As mentioned I'm not sure if it's technically illegal but I that's certainly enough to introduce the rest of the answer, thanks for making the edit.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    May 8, 2017 at 19:30

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