Utah Labor Commission Rule 610.3-18 states that it is lawful to deduct or offset from the wages due an employee:
G. Sums deducted from wages for damages suffered by the employer due to the employee's negligence:
1. A potential deduction shall meet the following pre-conditions:
a. negligence and damages arise out of the course of employment;
b. employer has not received payments, compensation, or any form of restitution
for the same monetary loss from an insurer, assurer, surety, or guarantor to cover the injuries, losses, or damages;
c. offset is reasonably related to the amount of the damage; and
d. damage is over and above wear and tear reasonably expected in the normal course of business.
2. Methods of determining an employee's negligence and amount of damage are:
a. by a judicial proceeding;
b. by an employer's written and published procedures coupled with an employee's express authorization for the deduction in writing; or
c. by any other provision allowed or required by law pursuant to Section 34-28-3(5).
So, in short, you can only deduct from the employee's paycheck if you had a written policy
that the employee would be liable for the cost of keys.
Otherwise, you would be required to sue the employee in small claims
court for the amount you paid, or you could ask the employee to agree to the deduction from their paycheck.
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