Can an employer dock a employee’s paycheck for forgetting to ship a box?

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Can an employer dock a employee’s paycheck for forgetting to ship a box?

If an employee forgets to send a package out to a customer, and then a few days later has to send it priority shipping; is the employer legally allowed to take the difference in the shipping costs from the employee’s paycheck?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it can but only so long as there is an union agreement, employment contract or stated employment policy indicating that your employer can charge back errors of this kind. However, even if it can require repayment fora loss of this type, your employer simply can't deduct from your paycheck. The fact is that such deductions are subject to a number of limitations.  For example, you might need to make repayment by writing a check, etc. to your employer (as opposed to an automatic paycheck withholding).

Note: Without a prior agreement requiring repayment, an employer cannot force an employee to repay money for a loss. However, in an "at will" employment situation, an employer may terminate an employee for not making a repayment (an at-will employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all).

Bottom line, you just may want to work out a repayment arrangement to keep the peace - and your job.


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