My employer is requiring me to sign a contract that I believe to be unenforceable

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My employer is requiring me to sign a contract that I believe to be unenforceable

Hello,
This is occurring in Georgia.
The situation is as follows

I have been presented a contract with the following terms
– I am responsible for paying the cost of company laptop issued to me if it
is lost, stolen, or damaged.
– The price to be reimbursed is the laptop’s price at purchase date, there
are no clauses about depreciation
– The contract must be signed in order to continue being employed

I am a salaried employee.

It is my understanding that this violates federal labor law as, in the
event of a loss/theft/damage occurring, my salary would not be ‘free and
clear’.
Is this even a valid contract, and does this contract have consideration?
Finally, if I choose not to sign, and am subsequently terminated, is this
constructive discharge?

Asked on September 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An employer and employee can agree to any legal terms in such a contract; and providing that worker pay for lost or stolen equipment is such a term. Being a salaried employee does not effect this. As for consideration, it s present since you are reciving continued employment. Finally, since this contract is legal and you fail to sign it, you cannot make a claim of constructive discharge. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are incorrect: there is nothing illegal about an employee agreeing to pay for any company equipment he/she is issued if it is lost, stolen, or damaged. People--including employers and employees--can agree as to who will pay for any losses or damages; this is no more illegal than when you rent a car, you agree to be liable for damage. It has nothing to do with your salary and so does not implicate labor law: your obligation to pay for damage you do does not mean you are not being paid your salary any more than an employee having to pay for his/her own tools, transportation, or work clothes means he/she is not being paid his/her salary.
The contract is therefore legal and is binding: there is consideration--your job. You are are receiving employment as consideration.
If you refuse to sign, it is NOT constructive discharge, since the employer has the right to put such terms and conditions on employment; it is not regarded as wrongful or even unreasonable.


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