What to do if my pay is being withheld due to damage to a vehicle?

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What to do if my pay is being withheld due to damage to a vehicle?

I drove for a limousine company. Upon getting a second job due to lack of hours, they refused to give me my paycheck. They claim I damaged a mirror on a limousine 2 months prior. I never wrecked anything. They claim I was the last one to use the vehicle when they noticed it. I never signed anything accepting responsibility for damages. In fact I never signed anything at all, not even an application for employment. Also, when they did pay me they would just write out a private check with no tax deductions. Is this legal? How to get them to pay what is owed to me? They say I was hired as an independent contractor.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you are an employee, they may not withhold money from your paycheck. If they  feel that you damaged their vehicle, they would be allowed to sue you for  the money, if you did not agree to pay it voluntarily; they could also fire you for damaging the vehicle; but they can't take it out of your paycheck unless you agreed to let them do this.

If you are an independent contractor, they could only offset the damages from what they owe you for work done if that was part of the "contract"--the terms and conditions you and they had mutually agreed to and under which you worked.

You may therefore be entitled to recover the money, but would have to bring a legal action to recover it, which may or may not be worthwhile.


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