As an employee, am I obligated to pay for damages unintentionally caused while on the job?

Shouldn’t there be some sort of worker’s insurance that can help with this. I know I didn’t cause as much damage as they are demanding payment for and my company is forcing me to pay all of it. I can’t afford it and need to know if I can be held legally responsible?

Asked on October 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you caused the damage either intentionally or negligently unreasonably carelessly, then yes, you can be held liable for it. Even if they have insurance e.g. property insurance, they are not required to use it, but may seek the cost from you or if they do have and use insurance, their insurer could then seek reimbursement from you. If, on the other hand, you were not at fault--did not intentionally cause the damage, and were not negligent or careless in causing it--you would not be liable liability for property damage depends on being at fault. Of course, whether or not you were at fault, your employer could decide to terminate you for this, unless you have a written employment contract preventing termination for this reason. 
They can only hold you liable for the amount/cost of damage which they can prove you did. If you refuse to pay voluntarily, they could sue you for the money, if they chose.


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