Can my employer require me to pay back money stolen from a work truck while making a delivery?

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Can my employer require me to pay back money stolen from a work truck while making a delivery?

I drive a truck for a beer distributor. Only 2 of our accounts pay in cash. While making a delivery on monday the cash received from one of the accounts was stolen from the truck. My employer now says I am responsible for paying back the money. I get paid $10.50 an hour. Isn’t there some kind of insurance to cover my employer for instances like this?

Asked on August 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If an employee costs his or her employer money either deliberately or through negligence (unreasonable carelessness), the employee may be liable for the loss. If the employee will not voluntarily repay the money, the employer could sue him or her for it. (IF the employer has insurance, then the most it could get is any amount not covered by insurance--e.g. the deductible--but many employers would not have insurance for this.)

You could only be forced to pay if you were negligent or had been intentionally involved in the theft. However, if you do not have a contract, you are an employee at will. As an employee at will, the employer could fire you at any time, for any reason, which includes it being angry that money was stolen on your watch and you did not repay it. Thus, even if the employer does not sue you or would lose its case if it did, it could fire you for the theft happening while you were driving, unless you make good it's loss.


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