If I have an employee that ruined hundreds of dollars worth of product due to negligence, is it legal for me to deduct that from their wages?

I’m a small business owner. The amount of goods ruined is far greater than the total wages earned by said employee.

Asked on January 17, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Pay day laws in every state require an employer to pay an employee the amounts that they have earned.  An employer is allowed to deduct amounts to satisfy tax obligations, court orders, or other agreements between the employer and employee.  Tax and court obligations would not apply to your situation.  The third could potentially apply---if the employee voluntarily agreed to payments being withheld from his check.  (Emphasis here is voluntary).  If he will not agree to the deductions voluntarily, then you would need to sue him for the damages and try to get a wage garnishment to authorize the deductions.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.