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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17065
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I was suspended for 10 for losing a refrigerated load.

Customer Question

I was suspended for 10 for losing a refrigerated load. Market value of around $32,000. Upon the company investigation, they want me to pay $22,000 in loss of product. I'm told they have a $50,000 policy with a $10,000 deductible. If I agree to pay this $22,000 they will keep it off DAC report, knowing my DAC report is a drivers grade card. Is this or could be extortion, coercion, etc.?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
If I don't agree to pay this amount, they hold my future employment with the company as well. I could be terminated.
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, you need to know that Kansas is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion. So they do have the right to suspend, terminate, etc...

Next, an employer can make you pay for a product loss by negligence or otherwise entrusted to your care. It sucks when they do this, because most employers take this as a cost of doing business rather than passing on the costs to employees, but it's always possible that they may do so legally. They can't withhold it from your check without your permission, but if you give permission they can deduct it, in installments (as you may agree with them).

It's also not extortion / coercion / etc... Extortion (aka blackmail) is where someone obtains money or something of value through violence or threats, yes, but the caveat is that it's money that they don't otherwise have any right to pursue. For example, if I have a sex tape that shows a high profile individual, and tell that person that I won't release it if they pay me $100,000, then that would be extortion, as I don't have any right to that money otherwise. Now if a drunk driver hits my car, causes $10,000 in damage, and I say that I won't report the accident if he pays me the $10,000 damage caused, that's not extortion because I have a right to pursue that $10,000. It's a settlement in that incident. But if I say that he has to give me $50,000, then $40,000 would be an extortion amount, where $10,000 would be a valid settlement amount. Does that make sense?

Coercion is related, as it's the act of persuading someone through force or threats. But the distinction here is that the force/threats make you do something that you otherwise would not do. Again, where someone is saying something and has a valid legal complaint, the "threat" to do something that they legally can do otherwise is not coercion. So if I say "give me the $10,000 damages or I'll sue", while that's a threat, it's not coercion because I'd have a right to that money. Now if I say "give me $10,000 or I'll punch you in the face" then that IS coercion, because I don't have a right to punch that person in the face.

In short, this is all legal, as they do have the right to seek repayment from you, and because they do, any threats are not threats in the sense of extortion / coercion.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions).

If you can't see the stars, you may need to scroll up / down / left / or right to see them. This is where you rate so that the question will close out.

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Can you see on your screen where you need to rate it? Note that you may need to press a "submit" button after clicking on the appropriate star rating. This is what I'm waiting on from you. Thanks!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Hello?