Am I responsible for a damaged computer that was issued to me by my company?

I work in a public school and was issued an expensive computer by the administration to do school related work. While at work, coffee was accidentally spilled on the key board. The school dropped the insurance on the computer and is asking me to pay to repair it or replace it $475,$ 750$ or 1000 depending on the cost of damage.

Asked on March 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When an employee negligently or carelessly breaks equipment belonging to their employer, the employer may recovery of the cost of repair or replacement from them. The law does not require a company to bear the costs of its employees' negligence/carelessness. However, an employer may not deduct/withhold money from employee wages. Instead, if a worker does not voluntarily pay for such loses, an employer would need to sue them in a court to recover any money owed. That having been said, if you do not have an employment contract/union agreement to the contrary, you are an employee "at will" and may be fired at any time, for any reason, which includes for not paying for damage to employer provided equipment.

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