Is a employer allowed to deduct from your paycheck for damage or loss of equipment

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is a employer allowed to deduct from your paycheck for damage or loss of equipment

Is a employer allowed to deduct from
your paycheck for damage or loss of

Asked on April 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They cannot deduct money from your paycheck, even if you do owe them money, without your consent (agreement) or as required by law (e.g. IRS or court-ordered wage garnishment). 
However, if you lost or damaged the equipment through negligence (carelessness)--or, for that matter, deliberately--you would be liable, or responsible for its cost: someone who carelessly or intentionally damages, loses, etc. another's property legally has to pay for it. Therefore, if they believe you were responsible for the loss, they could sue you; and if they could convince a court you were responsible, they could get a court judgment (order) requiring you to pay.
They could  also terminate you for costing them money and not repaying it, unless you have a written contract preventing them from doing so, since without a contract, an employer may terminate you at any time, for any reason ("employment at will").

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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