Can an employer withold a paycheck due to an accident with the company vehicle?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer withold a paycheck due to an accident with the company vehicle?

My fiance quit his job 5 days ago. Then yesterday, he received a text message from his ex-employer threatening to withhold his check to cover damages to a work vehicle that was involved in an accident a little near a year ago. Neither driver filed a claim with either insurance company. Now since my fiance has quit. His boss is suing him to repair the vehicle.

Asked on June 14, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) Can the employer withhold a paycheck for an accident in a company vehicle? No: the law is very clear that even if an employee might owe the employer money (see below), the employer still has to pay the employee for all work he did. There is no withholding from or of paychecks (other than tax withholding) without employee consent or a court order (such as for wage garnishment). Your fiance could either contact the state department of labor to file a complaint or sue (such as in small claims court) for the money.
2) If your fiance was at fault in causing the accident--driving carelessly at the time, such as by texting or otherwise driving distractedly, speeding, going through a stop light or sign, etc.--then he is liable for the damage he did and the employer could sue him for the repair costs. To win, they'll have to prove his fault in court.

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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