Can I sue my employer for damages if it didn’t pay me my mileage expenses?

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Can I sue my employer for damages if it didn’t pay me my mileage expenses?

My employer didn’t pay me for my gas expenses. In fact, he took $150 out of my last paycheck for gas that I bought. I’ve driven over 4000 miles for them and they didn’t give me a dime for gas. Can I sue for damages or something else like wear and tear on my car or emotional distress?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) The law does not require employers to pay mileage; it is up to employers whether to do so. That said, if there was an agreement between you and your employer that they would pay mileage--whether that agreement was a written one, an oral one, or even possibly an implicit one evidenced by past practice (i.e., in the past they paid mileage, and they never indicated they were changing that policy), they would have to honor the agreement, and you could potentially sue them for the reimbursement if they will not provide it voluntarily.

However, that said, if there was no agreement prior to your driving the miles, they do not have to pay you for them.

The same principal applies to gas purchases--they need to honor any agreements or policies about reimbursement for this, but in the absence of some agreement or policy to pay, they do not have to reimburse you.

2) An employer may never simply deduct or withhold money from an employee's pay, except as specifically required by law (like tax withholdinng; or a court-ordered wage garnishment), without employee consent. Therefore, they cannot take money from your paycheck without your permission. If they think you owe them money for something, their recourse would be to sue you for it.


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