If I accidentally damaged equiment at my job, can I be charged for it?

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If I accidentally damaged equiment at my job, can I be charged for it?

I broke an expensive machine due to not being properly trained.

Asked on March 10, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

According to the Federal Labor Standards Act (the FLSA), an employer is permited to deduct losses from a worker's paycheck due to an accident unless the deduction would drop their pay below the federal minimum wage. Therefore, if an employee only earns minimum wage, then they cannot be charged for any losses. That having been said, it would be a good idea to check your state’s employment law, since offer more protection than the federal law. For example, many states require that employers get a worker's written permission before they can make a paycheck deduction and other states prohibit any such deduction at all as they consider lost/damaged equipment an ordinary cost of doing business (although they do permit such a deduction if the employee was negligent or acting on purpose). Further, under OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment guidelines, you cannot charge an employee for equipment needed to safely perform a job  (i.e. goggles, gloves and other protective clothing) unless the damage is caused by the employee's negligence.


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