What can I do if my employer is charging me for damage made by a customer?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What can I do if my employer is charging me for damage made by a customer?

I work in a carwash and a customer had damage to his car. My employer paid the bill. Then my check came and was short for the amount of the damage. Is this legal? Can he do this?

Asked on August 10, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The employer may not take money out of your check if you damaged a customer's car, unless you consent (agree) to allow them to do so; the labor law is very clear about that. You could file a complaint with the department of labor or sue (e.g. in small claims court, as your own attorney) for the money.
What the employer can do is:
1) If you cost them money (e.g. by damaging a car, which they paid for), they can sue you for the money; if they can show you caused the damage, they can get a court judgment ordering that you pay them. If you sue for you pay, they could countersue for the money you cost them, so you might not come out ahead.
2) They could fire (or demote, suspend, etc.) you for damaging a customer's car and costing them money, or for doing so and refusing to voluntarily pay for it.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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