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Deducting cost of an accident from pay

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Unclebingo

New member
I'm in Florida. While driving a company vehicle on the clock at a business doing company work. I slowly backed out of a parking space that I had very little visibility due to an SUV with dark tint on my right and in a company van that had no side windows in the rear. A sheriff car was backing up in the parking lot at the same time and we met bumper to bumper. I was backing up so slow that there was 0 damage to the company van (not even a paint scuff) and a small dent on the Sheriff Deputy bumper. Without reviewing the video from the parking lot camera in the sheriff Dept parking lot, the sheriff dept sent a letter to my boss stating that accident was my fault and the company I worked for deducted $700 from my pay to cover the damages to the sheriff vehicle, even though I contested it being my fault. Are they allowed to do this?
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
I'm in Florida. While driving a company vehicle on the clock at a business doing company work. I slowly backed out of a parking space that I had very little visibility due to an SUV with dark tint on my right and in a company van that had no side windows in the rear. A sheriff car was backing up in the parking lot at the same time and we met bumper to bumper. I was backing up so slow that there was 0 damage to the company van (not even a paint scuff) and a small dent on the Sheriff Deputy bumper. Without reviewing the video from the parking lot camera in the sheriff Dept parking lot, the sheriff dept sent a letter to my boss stating that accident was my fault and the company I worked for deducted $700 from my pay to cover the damages to the sheriff vehicle, even though I contested it being my fault. Are they allowed to do this?
The accident is your fault. You backed up despite not being able to see. Be grateful it was a bumper you hit and not a child.

@cbg @eerelations
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
No, but not for the reason you think. It would be illegal to make such a deduction without your permission even if you agreed you caused the accident.
Are you certain of that? Florida does not have any law, so far as I can see, that prohibits a private employer from making deductions from pay for this sort of thing like many other states do.
 

quincy

Senior Member

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
See this US DOL letter. Note that it starts off talking about salary exempt but deals with hourly near the end.
Right, and the letter states that for nonexempt employees the deduction is improper under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if the deduction would result in the employee getting less than minimum wage. So federal law does not ban such deductions entirely; it just requires that the employee at least get his/her minimum wage paid. We don't have the facts here to know if there might be a minimum wage violation in this instance.
 

quincy

Senior Member
More facts are always helpful. :)

The employer IS able to make deductions from an employee’s pay, however, given that the federal minimum wage law is not violated.

I would think that the employer’s insurance would cover damage to the sheriff’s vehicle, though.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
I would think that the employer’s insurance would cover damage to the sheriff’s vehicle, though.
It probably would, after the deductible is paid. The question there is what deductible does the employer have? If the deductible is higher than the damages then the insurance is of no help.
 

quincy

Senior Member
It probably would, after the deductible is paid. The question there is what deductible does the employer have? If the deductible is higher than the damages then the insurance is of no help.
True. With only $700 in claimed damages, there is a good chance that the deductible is greater.
 

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