Docking pay For Accidentally Breaking Something? Washington

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Docking pay For Accidentally Breaking Something? Washington

Post  Whiplash7x on Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:37 am

I work at a company, and I get paid hourly, unless I am on a gig then a get payed a day rate. When I work hourly it is mostly warehouse work. Prepping and deprepping and keeping track of gear. A few weeks ago I was picking up some gear from 2 different places. I was driving a truck rented by the company, I put the gear from both places in the back of the truck, but didn't securely strap down the heaviest of the gear. During the drive the heavy gear rolled (a case with wheels, that had a motor in it) and broke another item, that brand new costs about $500.

I was told that my pay may be docked to pay for the item. This hasn't happened yet, but I want to understand the legality of this. If they took 500 dollars out of a pay check, I would make nothing. I average about 450 a pay period. I haven't signed anything either. So lets say I do eventually sign something, how could they legally take money from me?

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Re: Docking pay For Accidentally Breaking Something? Washington

Post  ArmyRetCW3 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:10 am

As a general rule, deductions from an employee's pay for damage of goods are not proper to the extent that such reductions reduce an employee's pay below the Federal minimum wage (currently $6.55 an hour) or cut into the required overtime compensation. (see Mayhue's Super Liquor Stores, Inc. v. Hodgson 464 F. 2d 1196 and Brennan v. Veterans Cleaning Service Inc. 351 F. Supp. 741).

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Re: Docking pay For Accidentally Breaking Something? Washington

Post  bears00 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:13 am

Any involuntary deduction (other than taxes/garnishments/etc.) that brings you below the minimum wage is not legal. If they do this, file a complaint with the federal DOL.
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RCW 49.52.070

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:25 am

In the absence of an enforceable agreement, I donít think the employer can make this kind of withholding without violating the minimum pay laws. Whether or not the employee might have some liability for this damage is a separate question the employer needs to explore. The employer is liable for liquidated damages under RCW 49.52.070 for any willful failure to pay compensations. That may include this instance. Liquidated (Double) damages are an amount equal to what is owed. Liquidated damages are available in small claims court, or you can file with state L&I for an administrative remedy that does not include the liquidated damages feature.
Below is the instructions and can be done on your computer on P.D.F:
http://www.lni.wa.gov/forms/pdf/700027af.pdf

If you file in small claims court you multiply the amount times two in the complaint, add any attorneys fees if you contacted an attorney for advice,if their was a billable charge.
Example :
($500. X 2 =) $1000. + Reasonable attorney fees if applicable + plus court cost = Amount demanded on complaint.
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Re: Docking pay For Accidentally Breaking Something? Washington

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