Can my boss take money out of my paycheck for something I accidentally broke?

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Can my boss take money out of my paycheck for something I accidentally broke?

I work for a cleaning company that advertises that they are insured for broken items. She claims she cannot afford to pay for this item because her husband lost his job so she took the charge out of my pay check. I didn’t think either of us had to pay out of our own pockets. Is this legal?

Asked on December 7, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If her company has agreed (e.g. in its contract with clients) to pay for damages--or has advertised in their marketing materials that they'll pay--the company has to pay. They have to honor their obligations. If there's no insurance to pick up it, the company will pay for it itself--and if the company is basically your boss (e.g. it's a sole proprietorship and she's the proprietor) that means she'll have to pick it up out of her own pocket.

2) She may not take the money out of your paycheck or make you pay for the loss.

3) However, if you don't have an employment contract, you may be fired at any time, for any reason (you're an employee at will), so you need to bear that in mind as you decide what to do.


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