Can a paycheck deduction be made from my daughter’s paycheck for actions of a non-employee?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Can a paycheck deduction be made from my daughter’s paycheck for actions of a non-employee?

My 17 year-old daughter works at a daycare and the director needed to park the daycare van in the driveway at my house; no problem there. The director had my daughter’s 18 year-old boyfriend drive her car to my house. He doesn’t have a license and has maybe 20 hours of actual drive time behind the wheel. He hit the daycare sign and broke it and now they want $595 to replace the sign, which we do not have. Anyway they are threatening to take the money out of my daughter’s paycheck even though she wasn’t driving. Can they do that?

Asked on July 28, 2011 Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot do this:

1) Even if they had a valid cause of action or claim against your daughter, they may not take the money for the claim out of her paycheck; an employee must be paid all his or her wages for work performed, and if the employer has a claim against her, they may sue her in court and attempt to prove it.

2) From what you write, they don't have a claim against your daughter: the director asked the boyfriend to drive the car, so you daughter had no role and no liability. If the director had asked your daughter to drive, then your daughter, without permission, had an unlicensed driver do it instead, that woudl be different; but if the director asked an unlicensed driver to drive, then the only fault is hers and the driver's (the boyfriend).

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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