As an employee, am I obligated to pay for damages unintentionally caused while on the job?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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As an employee, am I obligated to pay for damages unintentionally caused while on the job?

Shouldn’t there be some sort of worker’s insurance that can help with this. I know I didn’t cause as much damage as they are demanding payment for and my company is forcing me to pay all of it. I can’t afford it and need to know if I can be held legally responsible?

Asked on October 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you caused the damage either intentionally or negligently unreasonably carelessly, then yes, you can be held liable for it. Even if they have insurance e.g. property insurance, they are not required to use it, but may seek the cost from you or if they do have and use insurance, their insurer could then seek reimbursement from you. If, on the other hand, you were not at fault--did not intentionally cause the damage, and were not negligent or careless in causing it--you would not be liable liability for property damage depends on being at fault. Of course, whether or not you were at fault, your employer could decide to terminate you for this, unless you have a written employment contract preventing termination for this reason. 
They can only hold you liable for the amount/cost of damage which they can prove you did. If you refuse to pay voluntarily, they could sue you for the money, if they chose.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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