When money is being taken out of your account to pay for a company provided item and you return the item can they still charge you the full amount?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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When money is being taken out of your account to pay for a company provided item and you return the item can they still charge you the full amount?

I received a company fitbit in middle to late September. Since then and because I was getting paid weekly, 5 dollars a week was taken out of my check to put towards the fitbit. Now, that I’m leaving, I returned the fitbit and yet am still required to pay the full price of the fitbit even with one piece missing which for the piece alone I will gladly pay for. They’re charging me for my tb test my physical my classes that they provided and then the fitbit too? I don’t feel that any of this is right.

Asked on December 20, 2017 under Business Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It  may not be "right" but it is legal: an employer may set the terms and conditions of work, and those can include that employees need to get and pay for a company fitbit, even if they leave employment before they are done paying it off--that's because under "employment at will" (the law of this country except when you have a written employment contract to the contrary), the employer can make essentially any rules about work, and what equipment you need or costs you have to pay, that it wants. Also, if a piece of any product is missing, it is common and acceptable that you can't return it or stop paying for it, but instead have to pay for the item: essentially, "you break it, you bought it."

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