Can a farmer deduct repairs from a farm hand’s paycheck without knowledge or agreement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a farmer deduct repairs from a farm hand’s paycheck without knowledge or agreement?

I work for a farmer. A piece of equipment did some slight damage to an overhead door. The farmer deducted the bill 300 from my paycheck. Can he do this? I did not sign any documents upon hire related to damages.

Asked on December 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In IA, an employer cannot deduct or withhold wages from an worker’s paycheck for any losses indurred due to breakage, damage to property, etc, that are not attributable to the employee’s willful or intentional disregard of their employer’s interests. In other words, an employee cannot be held financially liable for accidental acts. Other than those that the employee agrees, in writing, to be held responsible for.

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 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.

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