Can my employer make me pay for damage to equipment?

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Can my employer make me pay for damage to equipment?

I work in Missouri and was wondering if my employer can make me pay for damage to
landscaping equipment. I had an accident while driving a company truck and I
also flipped over a mower and damaged it. Can they make me pay for the damages
that I incurred?

Asked on March 4, 2019 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Under the Federal Labor Standards Act (the FLSA), an employer is permited to deduct losses due to an accident from a worker's paycheck unless is that the deduction would drop their pay below the federal minimum wage. Accordingly, if an employee only earns minimum wage, then their employer cannot charge them for any losses. However, it is a good idea to check your state’s employment law. Many states offer more protection for workers than the federal law. For example, many states mandate that employers get an employees’ written consent before they can make a paycheck deduction, while other states prohibit any such deduction at all as they consider lost and damaged equipment to be an ordinary cost of doing business, although they do permit a deduction if the employee was negligent or acting on purpose. Additionally, under OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment guidelines, you cannot charge an employee for equipment needed to safely perform a job asgoggles, gloves and other protective clothing unless the damage is caused by the employee's negligence.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Under the Federal Labor Standards Act (the FLSA), an employer is permited to deduct losses due to an accident from a worker's paycheck unless is that the deduction would drop their pay below the federal minimum wage. Accordingly, if an employee only earns minimum wage, then their employer cannot charge them for any losses. However, it is a good idea to check your state’s employment law. Many states offer more protection for workers than the federal law. For example, many states mandate that employers get an employees’ written consent before they can make a paycheck deduction, while other states prohibit any such deduction at all as they consider lost and damaged equipment to be an ordinary cost of doing business, although they do permit a deduction if the employee was negligent or acting on purpose. Additionally, under OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment guidelines, you cannot charge an employee for equipment needed to safely perform a job asgoggles, gloves and other protective clothing unless the damage is caused by the employee's negligence.


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