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Can employer force employee to pay for damages incurred while working? Texas

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  • Can employer force employee to pay for damages incurred while working? Texas

    Hello,

    I'm a 25 year service technician at a dealership and I accidentally blew out a customer's tire while pulling the vehicle in my service bay. My employer says I have to pay for the tire. Is this true? It seems like damages incurred during the scope of my job should be the emplyers liability, or am I seeing this wrong?

  • #2
    If we were talking federal law only (FLSA), then the deduction would be legal as long as minimum wage or overtime rules were not violated. Under federal rules, this would be a "for the benefit of the employer" type of deduction.
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf

    However some states can and do have more restrictive rules. Your state is not my state, so hopefully another responder who knows the specifics if TX deduction rules (if any) can respond.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Texas payroll deduction law:
      Employers may not withhold or divert any part of an employee's wages unless the employer (1) is ordered to do so by a court, (2) is authorized to do so by state or federal law, or (3) has *written authorization* from the employee to deduct part of the wages for a lawful purpose. Contracts that permit or require deductions to pay union dues or assessments are void unless the employees provide written consent.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Adding to the above re #3 illegal deductions Tx. would be: Deductions that violate the minimum wage or overtime laws, that have to do with debts arising from illegal transactions (such as illegal gambling and contraband), or that violate certain other laws providing limitations on what employers can take from an employee's pay, such as the limitations on the amounts to be deducted for child support garnishments, IRS tax levies, or student loan wage attachments .
        Last edited by Betty3; 11-08-2008, 03:15 PM.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the quick responses.

          So basically I have to sign a document to acknowledge the deduction to make this legal, otherwise I refuse to sign and possibly get terminated instead?

          I was thinking there was something in our state code that removed the financial responsibility from the employee since the damage was done during the scope of the job.

          Wishful thinking I suppose.

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          • #6
            If you don't sign, they might sue you in small claims court for payment.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

            Comment


            • #7
              Agreed, although interesting enough Texas is one of the few states that does not allow creditor garnishments. I have no idea how that would affect the collection of judgements there.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                Interesting, We at this point I have not signed any agreement and it appears the cost of the tire has indeed been withheld from my payroll.

                I suppose the part that makes me feel used is that after 25 years of service it seems the companies "deep pockets" could have absorbed the cost of this easier than I could. I mean they literally GAVE a customer two tires worth over $500.00 the other day, but that customer that has visited our dealership a total of 3 times is more valuable to the company it appears than a 25 year employee... go figure.

                Thank you all for your insight, I'll suck it up and move along.

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                • #9
                  Sucking it up not the only option

                  If you choose to do so, you can file a claim for unpaid wages with the Texas Workforce Commission. While it takes some time for that claim to be investigated, it may be that the notice from TWC to your employer (or your notice to the employer that you intend to file a claim, due to the violation of the Texas Payday Law) would prompt your employer to pay the wages.

                  It may also prompt your employer to terminate your employment.

                  Your call.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Texas709 View Post
                    It may also prompt your employer to terminate your employment.

                    Your call.
                    I'll choose to not join the ranks of the unemployed over a tire.

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