Can your employer deduct wages for a lost store key?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you had specifically or expressly agreed in advance to this--i.e. you were told that it was a job policy that if you lose the key, a certain amount would be deducted from your wages, and you demonstrated agreement with that policy--then it would be legal. Without prior agreement from you, though, your employer cannot do this; employers cannot deduct from employee wages without employee consent, except as required by law (e.g. wage garnishments, such as for child support; taking out tax withholding).

If your employer believes you cost it money, such as the cost to re-key a lock or change locks, it is free to sue you and try to prove its case and recover its money in court, if it deems it worthwhile to do so.

An employer  may also choose to terminate you for losing a key, unless you have an employment contract protecting or guarantying your employment.

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