Can my employer deduct money for losses?

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Can my employer deduct money for losses?

I work as a driver for a heating oil company. I made a wrong delivery to a residence that didn’t ask for heating oil. Our office called and ask if they would still pay for the oil, and the customer did not agree and said it isn’t their problem. The company then deducted the cost of the oil from my paycheck. I never make mistakes and I feel the company

needs to take a loss for the heating oil. That’s what companies they look at their own losses.

Asked on November 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Why should the company take a loss for your error? The law says that if someone negligently, or carelessly, costs another money--such as by delivering to the wrong home--that person is liable, or financially resonsible, for the loss they caused: therefore, your company can recovery this money from you.
They are recovering the money the wrong way, unless you agree to let them do this: the law does not let an employer take money from an employee's paycheck, even if the employee does owe them money, as you evidently do, unless the employee consents or agrees to the deduction. If they do take money from your check without your permission, you could file a complaint with the department of labor and/or sue the employer for the money.
Of course, what they *can* legally do is:
1) They could sue you for the money, and if they do, will almost certainly win;
2) They could fire you "for cause" for having negligently cost them money and then refusing to reimburse them--and if they do so, you will not be eligible for unemploymet benefits.
It may be best to allow them to have the money from your paycheck, rather than forcing them to sue you and/or being fired.


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