If I lose a company key to their business do I have to pay for an entire lock change or just the key?

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If I lose a company key to their business do I have to pay for an entire lock change or just the key?

I worked for a small business. They provided me a small key when I was first hired but I ended up losing it and offered to get a replacement. However, they said that I also have to replace all of their locks and they are refusing to sign my check. They never told me that I had to replace the locks if I lost the key beforehand, nor did I sign anything saying that. Are they allowed to do this or are they required to sign my check for me?

Asked on June 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

These are two different issues:
1) Do they have to issue you your check? Yes: the law is very clear that an employer may not withhold employee paychecks even when the employee owes them momey, as you do; they can suspend you, demote you, fire you and sue you, but they still have to pay you. You could contact the labor department to file a complaint.
2) You do need to pay for new locks. The issue is not the cost of the key--it's that you don't know what happened to it or who, if anyone, found it, so their premises is no longer secure--the key could be in the hands of someone who will rob them, for example. When a key is lost, the only reasonable thing to do is to rekey or replace all the locks that key opened. Since your carelessness caused them to incure that expense, you are liable for it. They could sue you for the money--and also, as stated, suspend you until you pay, or terminate you, etc.


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