If an employer provides a vehicle, what are their legal obligations as pertains to the vehicle?

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If an employer provides a vehicle, what are their legal obligations as pertains to the vehicle?

My employer provides a vehicle for work purposes. On my to an appointment, I was pulling through an automatic gate that prematurely started closing. I backed out quickly but when I went to stop the brakes

failed and the vehicle struck a pole. This is after I notied my supervisor that the brakes needed replaced on three separate occasions. Now my employer is saying that the deductible is my responsibility even though they failed to

provide a fully functional vehicle. What should I do protect myself in this situation and going forward?

Asked on October 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

They cannot force you to pay the deductible unless they sue you and win by proving in court that the accident was your fault (e.g. that you failed to try to stop in time); you could defend yourself by presenting your own evidence and testimony about how it was the brakes, not you. They can't take money from your pay or otherwise compel you to pay the deductible unless they sue you and win, or unless you agree to repay them.
However, if you don't have a written employment contract for a definite period of time (e.g. a one-year contract) protecting your job, you are an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason--even unfair or factually incorrect ones. So your employer could elect to terminate you if it blames you, even incorrectly, for the accident and costing it money. You need to bear that in mind in deciding what to do.


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