Can my employer suspend my pay for one week if I had an accident while driving a company van?

While making deliveries, I was cut off on the freeway. The driver then slammed on the brakes causing a rear-end accident. My employer informed me I would have my pay suspended for one week. Additionally there was not damage to the vechicle I was driving.

Asked on November 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your employer can do this, unless you have an employment contract protecting yoiur employment in some way (e.g. listing a process for discipline). That's because without an employment contract, you are an employee at will. An employee at will can be terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice or warning. Since you could be terminated at any time, even without any reason (though remember: you were involved in an accident with a company vehicle, which certainly provides a reason to take action), the employer could do something short or or less than termination, like an unpaid suspension. Thus, unless you have an employment contract, your employer may put you on an unpaid, one week suspension.

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