Is it legal for an employer to charge an employee damages to a company vehicle if the employee is in an accident in the vehicle while doing company business?

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Is it legal for an employer to charge an employee damages to a company vehicle if the employee is in an accident in the vehicle while doing company business?

I was asked to run an errand at work. I was to deliver a check to a paving company. Since my company does not provide GPS in the vehicles, it is common practice and well-known to everyone (including the owners) that we use our phones for GPS since they are not provided to us. While looking down at my GPS, I rear-ended another vehicle. The police were called; no tickets were issued. I receive a call from my boss telling me that we have to figure out how I’m going to pay for the damages to the vehicle. My reply would be pretty much anyone’s reply which was,

Asked on June 8, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that absent an employment contract or union agreemnt to the contrary, in most states an employee can be charged for damage to company property, especially if caused by the worker's negligence. Although , if they are a non-exempt worker the deduction cannot bring the employee's pay under minimum wage. That having been said, some states, such as NY, do not allow for such deductions. At this point, to be certain of your rights you should contact your state's department of labor.


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