Can my employer take money out of everyone’s paycheck to pay for a broken printer when no one knows who broke it?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2012

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Can my employer take money out of everyone’s paycheck to pay for a broken printer when no one knows who broke it?

My daughter works for a small business. The owner of the company is taking $30 out of everyone’s paycheck because he found the desktop printer is broken. He replaced it and is charging everyone, including himself for the new printer because no one would admit to breaking it. My daughter did not sign any agreement allowing for deductions of this nature to be made, she did not break the printer, she is paid the minimum wage. Is this legal?

Asked on February 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, an employer may not do this. Even if the employer knew who had broken the printer, it could not take money out of his or her paycheck without the employee's agreement. Employees must be paid for all work done, and the employer may not deduct from their paychecks without their consent (other than as required by law; FICA, for example), even if the employees owe the employer money. If the employer believes it knows who is or maybe responsible, if that person or persons will not voluntarily reimburse the company, the employer's recourse is to sue, in order to prove in court that it is entitled to the money and seek a judgment in its favor.

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