If company property was stolen from my personal vehicle, can they make me pay for it?

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If company property was stolen from my personal vehicle, can they make me pay for it?

My job requires me to carry company equipment at all times. I leave from home and report on job sites and there is no office to report to and then leave from on a daily basis. My SUV was opened somehow a week ago and some company equipment was stolen. The company is stating its total value is $5000, they are not providing a detailed list, and I have to pay the company back through paycheck deductions. Also, if I leave the company, the balance is due and my final check may be held until that is paid. Is that legal? I dont see how they can do that

since it was not my fault. I had two laptops in the car that were not touched. They made me sign an agreement before signing and giving me my weekly paycheck and I felt pressured to sign, otherwise I would not have.

Asked on February 6, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you had not signed any agreement requiring repayment or letting them take it out of your paycheck, then:
1) They could only get the money from you if they can show you were at fault in some way (e.g. left expensive equipment in plain sight with the car unlocked or windows down);
2) They could only take the money from your paychecks with your consent or agreement--though if you did not agree, they could sue you for the money.
However, you mention that you signed some agreement: if you signed an agreement requiring you to pay for the value of any lost, stolen, or damaged property and giving them the right to take the money out of you pay, that is legal and enforceable and they can do this. It doesn't matter if you felt pressured: people generally feel "pressured" to sign agreements to pay money and don't usually do so happily, and so the law doesn't care if you felt pressured.If you sign an agreement, you are held to it, since the law presumes that otherwise, you could have refused to sign (and if necessary, sued the employer for your paycheck if they were refusing to give it to you).


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