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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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