employer forcing me to commit a deduction

A co-worker and I had a fender bender on company property. Both vehicles where customers vehicles; I work for a major car dealer. They want me to pay for the expenses and forcing me to commit and sign that I will pay so they start deducting my check for the next 6 months. This was a accident on company time and on the clock. My job involves me moving vehicles which is part of my duty. Am I obligated to pay and, if I don’t sign, will they still withdraw from my check or hold it? Remember this car dealer has its own insurance for these reasons but I’m sure the repair is less than the dealer’s insurance deductible.

Asked on January 3, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They can't deduct money from your pay without your consent: the law is clear about that. The only time that money may be taken from an employee's paycheck without his/her consent is if there is a wage garnishment order (such as due to unpaid child support or taxes).
However, they can suspend, demote, reduce your pay, or terminate you if you caused damage to a customer's property and refuse to pay for it: that is their right unless you have a written employment contract protecting you from these things. So they could force you to choose between agreeing to pay and your job: you may refuse to sign the agreement but be terminated.
Also, even if you do refuse to sign, if you were at fault (i.e. driving carelessly) in causing the accident, you would legally liable for the damage and could be sued by your employer for the money. 

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