Canan employer holdan employee liable for a mistake or incorrect repair by withholding money from their paycheck?

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Canan employer holdan employee liable for a mistake or incorrect repair by withholding money from their paycheck?

I have always thought that an employee (mechanic) of an auto repair business would be a representative of that business and a problem with a comeback or repair that would cause the employer any compensation back to the customer should be covered by the employer.

Asked on October 16, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is an union/employment contract or stated employment policy indicating that the employer can charge back errors of this kind made by an employee, then the employer may legally make a monetary claim against an employee. However, even if it can require repayment for this type of loss, an employer may not legally be able to simply deduct from the employee's paycheck; payroll deductions are subject to a number of limitations, and the employee might need to make repayment by writing a check, etc. to their employer (as opposed to automatic paycheck withholding).

Note:  Without a previous agreement requiring repayment, an employer may not force the employee to repay money for a loss.  However, in an "at will" employment situation (and most employment relationships are), an employer can fire an employee for not making repayment. In fact an at-will emplyer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all.

Bottom line, you just may want to work out a repayment arrangement to keep the peace - and your job.


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