If there is no legal agreement, can I be charged for damages that happend in a company van during a job?

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If there is no legal agreement, can I be charged for damages that happend in a company van during a job?

I backed into a mail box while driving a company van that has graphics on the back window so you cant see anything! My boss say’s its being taken out of my check. Is there anything I can do? There is no written agreement.

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Even in the absence of a written agreement, an employer can look to hold an employee liable for damage or losses that employee causes through negligence (or carelessness)--like backing into a mailbox. The law does not require the employer to absorb the cost, or insulate employees from liabiltiy.

However, the employer may NOT take money out of your paycheck withhout your consent; that is illegal, and if the employer does this, you could potentially sue or possibly  file a complaint with your state department of labor. Employers can only withhold money from paychecks with employee agreement/consent, or for reasons specifically mandated by law (e.g. FICA; a court-ordered wage garnishment). If the employer believes you owe it money and you do not pay, its recourse is to sue you for the money and prove its case in court.

Note however that unless you have an employment contract protecting your employment, your employer may termiante you for this.


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