Can my employer make me pay $500 for accidentally backing into an ice cream business sign?

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Can my employer make me pay $500 for accidentally backing into an ice cream business sign?

I accidentally backed into an ice cream shop sign while driving a company vehicle on the job. I was not impaired in any way, there was no police report filed and my company agreed to fix the sign since it was their employee in a company vehicle that damaged it. My company states in their employee handbook that the employee will be responsible for up to $1000 in wage reductions for damage to a company vehicle or equipment. They have sent me a form asking for my consent to deduct $500 from my wages to cover the cost of the sign. As per state code, $4113.19 from my understanding protects me from that. I’m not completely sure though because it was not company property that was damaged. I was told the $500 they want to deduct from my wages is for the insurance deductible. There have been multiple incidents I have witnessed where other employees have not been asked to pay the $500 deductible. I have also been told by a laborers union EEO officer that it is against the law for employees to pay the employer’s insurance deductible.

Asked on June 28, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The union officer you spoke to is incorrect. Whenever anyone, including an employee, negligently or carelessly has an accident (and backing into something is careless) and costs another person or business money, they are liable for the loss or cost they caused. While they cannot withhold from pay without consent, they could do one or both of suing you for the money or terminating you for causing them a loss and refusing to pay, subject only to any protections you have from the terms of a union agreement.


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