What is the obligation of an employee to drive a personal vehicle for work purposes?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is the obligation of an employee to drive a personal vehicle for work purposes?

My husband works for a contractor. He is a full-time hourly, employee with full benefits. The contracting company builds houses, renovates kitchens, bathrooms, etc. My husband provides his own tools and the he owns the truck he drives to the sites with. His company provides him with $40/week for gas and $500 a year for tools. He drives 150-400 miles a week the gas card does not cover this. A third or so of his monthly pay checks goes to the upkeep of his vehicle and tools, he wants to start driving my sedan to the contractors office and no longer supplying the tools and truck as it is losing him money. Does he have any legal recourse in this situation? He never signed a contract or anything that stated he would provide the vehicle and tools to complete jobs for his boss. What room for negotiation is there for him? He does not want to get fired, but worries that he will be fired if he stops driving his own vehicle and providing the tools to his boss.

Asked on December 13, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless he has protection under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, he has no rights here. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will", which means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit (absent some form of actionable discrimination). This includes having an employee provide their own tools and work truck. If this is unacceptable to your husband, he can continue to complain but risk termination or he can quit. I'm afraid that's about it.

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