Can my employer dock my paycheck for a mistake?

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Can my employer dock my paycheck for a mistake?

I work for a moving company and I was asked to put a diesel fuel additive into the truck. Well I put it into the wrong tank and the truck quit running about a block away. I was never shown how to properly do it, so I figured it went in the same tank as the gas and now my boss is taking

$100 a month out of my paycheck until I pay the $5,000 bill that he said it cost him to fix the truck.

Asked on June 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot legally make such a deduction from wages. The state courts have held that losses occurring without any fault on the part of the employee or that are merely the result of simple negligence are inevitable in business operations and therefore the employer must bear such losses as the cost of doing business. That having been said, one of the exceptions to the above gives an employer the right to deduct from an employee’s wages for the loss of equipment if the employer can show that the breakage was caused by a dishonest or willful act, or by the employee’s gross negligence. However, based on the facts presented, this damage was caused by a simple accident, not by a wanton act. At this point, you should consult directly with an employment law attorney and/or contact the Department of Industrial Relations to file a complaint. 


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