Can my ex-employer charge me for a power tool?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my ex-employer charge me for a power tool?

This has to do with my ex-employer at a tire shop for about 9 months and while I was there I lost of our power tools and after it happened I offered to pay for it but they said that they wouldn’t charge me for it so not to long after that I started to finance a car from them for $3,600 on payments they own a buy here pay here lot and a couple of weeks ago I quit and now they want to charge me $700 for a power tool and threatened to take my car away if I don’t pay. I’m only 19 and they are grown men that are use to just using people and getting away with it. I don’t know what to do but I know this isn’t fair.

Asked on November 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They can't take the money out of your paycheck, add it to what you owe on the car, or take the car from you--not unless you agreed to let them do one or more of these things. Assuming you did not agree, if they do any of these things, you could sue them.
If you did lose the tool (as you evidently did), you are, however, liable or resposible to pay for it. If you don't pay its actual value, they could sue you (that's how they could legally get the money from you--by suing) for its value. The only way they could legally force you to pay, if you don't pay voluntarily, is by suing and winning.
If the $700 is relatively close to what the tool would have cost, you are probably best off agreeing to pay it, to avoid back-and-forth litigation. If  it is much more than the tool cost, offer to pay what it did cost; if they won't accept, refuse, let them try to do something improper, then sue them.

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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