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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19306
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I recently parted from my former employer and have been

Customer Question

I recently parted from my former employer and have been awaiting payment of my final check. I have received a letter saying that my last weeks pay is being withheld due to some damages to a rental machine that I used prior to my departing the company and that I owe an additional $192.73 above my last wages of $172.87 being withheld. As an employee can I be held responsible for the deductible fro the rental equipment, and secondly can the employer withhold my pay to cover this???
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.

The employer can claim that you were negligent in the use of the equipment and attribute the damages to you. However, they normally would have to sue you to recover.

They are not supposed to withhold your pay, but should have sued and had the courts figure it out. Unfortunately, Florida is a horrible state for this to happen in, because it's Department of Labor does not file wage claims on behalf of employees. Essentially, that means that employers do lots of things that they legally shouldn't, because for you to get the matter fixed, you'll have to sue them.

I would sue them in small claims court for the unpaid wages, if you believe that the employer has no legitimate ability to state that you were negligent in your use of the equipment. If they can say that though suing them could backfire on you here, because the court could very well determine that you owe them that additional $172.87.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Are they "not supposed to hold my pay", or are not legally able to do it???? I have the proof of hours worked(given to me by them). I acknowledge the damage but was doing a task required of me by them. To what degree of negligence am I responsible. It was accidental, not intentional.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.

They are not supposed to, but for you to be able to do anything about it, you'd have to sue them, and there they'd counter-sue for the damages.

In the end, the chances of the court punishing them for improperly withholding is very low. Accidental damage can be negligence. Intentional damage is actual criminal destruction, so while I appreciate that the damage was not intentional, that is not a requirement for suing you for damages.