Can my employer withhold my paydue toa paperwork error?

UPDATED: May 21, 2011

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Can my employer withhold my paydue toa paperwork error?

I work at an EMS company. Every day we fill out check sheets for checking the equipment for our trucks. One day Iaccidentally marked that a GPS unit was on my truck when in fact it wasn’t. The next day the next crew marked that the GPS was not on the truck like it had been recorded for several months before hand. Can my employer withhold the pay saying that I lost or stole the GPS when in fact the GPS was recorded missing before I even began to work at that station?

Asked on May 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, IF you did lose or steal the GPS, then the company may try to collect the cost from you (and, of course, they could fire you, too, unless there is an employment contract to the contrary). However, to do this, they would have to sue you and win (assuming you don't voluntarily pay)--that is the only way they can recover the value of the GPS. Companies may NOT take the value of lost or stolen merchandise, equipment, etc. out of an employee's paycheck--they have to sue, if they think they are entitled to the money.

Second, to sue you successfully, they would need to be able to prove you lost or stole the item. Meanwhile, in court, you could present evidence in your favor.

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