What do I do if my former employer is refusing to pay fines incurred while I was driving a company vehicle?

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What do I do if my former employer is refusing to pay fines incurred while I was driving a company vehicle?

Employer loaded truck with office equipment. When I got to the weigh station it was determined that the truck was over weight and I was not licensed to drive the truck (both of which I did not know). I received 2 tickets totalling $400 and my employer agreed to pay the fines (he has paid them in the past). Shortly after receiving the fines, I no longer had reliable transportation to work and had to leave the company. I notified my immediate supervisor. My employer is now refusing to pay the fines because he feels I quit without telling him directly.

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, an employer is not obligated to pay traffic or driving fines its employees incur. You could possible sue the employer to recover that portion of the fine which was due to the truck being overweight, however, because the employer was at fault (deliberately overloaded the truck; or was negligent/careless about its weight) in causing you to incur that cost--when somone else inflicts a cost or damage on another due to their intentional act or negligence, it is often possible to recover the loss. You could try suing your employer for this amount, if they won't pay voluntarily.

You would not be eligible to recover the no license fine, since whether you knew it or not, that is your responsibilty--people are responsible for making sure they have the proper licenses for the vehicles they operate, and the fact that your employer asked you to drive it is no defense.

The promise to pay the fines is not enforceable because it was a "gratuitious promise" by your employer--a promise he voluntarily chose to make without an obligation to do so, and without getting anything of value ("consideration") for making it. Gratuitous promises are not legally enforceable.


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