What is th elw if all employees at a valet company that I work for have agreed to pay $400 for any accidents we are at fault for?

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What is th elw if all employees at a valet company that I work for have agreed to pay $400 for any accidents we are at fault for?

I already know this is legal, however If a father and daughter both work for the same company and the daughter causes an accident but quits instead of having $400 withheld from her pay, can they deduct the money from her father who is also an employee? Also, since we have agreed to the amount of $400 in writing, can they deduct more than $400 for worse accidents? Finally, if the company holds a million dollar insurance policy with a zero deductible, can they forego the use of their own insurance in favor of charging the employee for the accident?

Asked on October 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Texas has a regular payday law which only allows for two main categories of deductions outside of taxes and federal withholding.  Those two categories are by consent/agreement and by court order.  Court orders include child support garnishment orders.  Consent withholdings must be in writing and the employer can only withhold the amount authorized. 

So, if you signed an agreement which authorized them to withhold only $400.00 (or up to $400.00), then they cannot withhold more than authorized.  If there is a husband/daughter combo, they cannot withhold wages from another person's check for the obligations of another-- regardless of the relationship.  If the company does try to make an unauthorized garnishment, then file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission.  If this is a continuing, prevailing practice, then you may want to consider pooling employee resources and hiring an employment law attorney to file a type of class lawsuit for the employees.

Your last part involves the insurance maintained by the employers.  They can forego using their insurance.  However, if they file a claim on their insurance and also collect the $400.00 from the employee, they have a duty to let the insurance company know-- because the insurance company has a right of subrogation against any restitution collected-- which the $400 would be considered. It they try to double-dip, contact the insurance company to let them know of the payment so that they don't try to come after you for that amount later. 


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