Can my employer withhold money from my paycheck for damages to customer property or to the company’s equipment/trucks?

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Can my employer withhold money from my paycheck for damages to customer property or to the company’s equipment/trucks?

We had a meeting with only the drivers at a moving company I work for. They gave us a packet. The front page states if we forget any supplies we will be charged $25 per occurrence. Another page states that any damage to a customer’s goods or property will be withheld from the responsible party’s paycheck, if unclear who caused it, it may be split evenly among the crew. Also, if any damage is done to company vehicle or equipment it will be withheld from money earned. Isn’t this what they have insurance for? Can they legally do this? Also, we signed nothing when they gave us this.

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes an employer can do this. The fact is that in an "at will" employment relationship an employer has a great deal of discretion in setting the terms of employment. In turn, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not. Unless there is a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary or this company policy is being applied in a discriminatory way, no law is being violated. As for the paycheck deductions, typically an employer cannot withhold money from an employee's paycheck, however, in this case you are on notice of this policy. According such a deduction would be legal.


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