Can your employer deduct wages for a lost store key?

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

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Can your employer deduct wages for a lost store key?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you had specifically or expressly agreed in advance to this--i.e. you were told that it was a job policy that if you lose the key, a certain amount would be deducted from your wages, and you demonstrated agreement with that policy--then it would be legal. Without prior agreement from you, though, your employer cannot do this; employers cannot deduct from employee wages without employee consent, except as required by law (e.g. wage garnishments, such as for child support; taking out tax withholding).

If your employer believes you cost it money, such as the cost to re-key a lock or change locks, it is free to sue you and try to prove its case and recover its money in court, if it deems it worthwhile to do so.

An employer  may also choose to terminate you for losing a key, unless you have an employment contract protecting or guarantying your employment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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