Can my employer take money from my paycheck?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer take money from my paycheck?

I work at a auto mechanic and when
doing a oil change i messed up a car.
Now the car needs a new engine which
will be 4000. I have not sgined any
documents stating that my employer can
take money from my paycheck or that i
am liable for any cars that i mess up.
Now my boss is trying to take the money
from my paychecks. What should i do?

Asked on April 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you employer may not take money from your check without your consent, and if he does, you could contact the state department of labor to file a complaint and/or sue the employer (e.g in small claims court) for the money. 
Your employer may sue you for the money, if the employer believes you were at fault (e.g. negligent or careless) in causing the damage--and if you were at fault, would likely win the lawsuit.
Your employer could also fire you, if it wanted, if you don't have an employment contract preventing this. Or it could reduce your pay, demote you, suspend you, cut your hours, etc. if you don't have a written employment contract, your employer may take any disciplinary action it wishes, up to and including termination.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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