Can an employer deduct monies from my pay for damages to a company vehicle and customer property?

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Can an employer deduct monies from my pay for damages to a company vehicle and customer property?

I back into a driveway pillar and damaged it and the company vehicle. Now they say they are going to take payroll deductions from me to pay for the damages. Is this legal?

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, payroll deductions are no legal: the employer cannot unilterally take the money out of your paycheck to pay off the damage.

On the other hand:

1) You can certainly be fired for damaging company property (unless you have an employment contract to the contrary, which limits the grounds for being fired).

2) If you negligently (i.e. carelessly) or intentionally damage company property, the company could sue you for damages (i.e. for the cost of repairs or replacement).

Given that you can therefore face considerable consequences, it may be in your interest to work out some payment plan and schedule with your employer, something that you both can live with. Sometimes, insisting on your rights can actually lead to worse trouble in other ways.


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