If I Damaged Company Property, Can My Employer Deduct It From My Wages?

If I Damaged Company Property, Can My Employer Deduct It From My Wages?

If your employer has deducted wages from your paycheck because you damaged company property, they may have violated the law. Employers are only allowed to deduct wages from their employees under certain regulations and conditions. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to ensure that you get the maximum compensation if your employer violated the law and tried to reduce your pay because you damaged company property.

California law regarding wage reductions is a complicated document which many intricacies that make it difficult to understand. There may be some reductions which are allowed under some circumstances and other reductions which are not allowed under a set of completely different scenarios. This is why you need to contact an employment lawyer: in order to ensure that your employer has not taken advantage of your knowledge of the law and reduced your pay for something over which they have no right.

We at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group understand that unlawful deductions from your paycheck are frustrating. We help people in your situation every single day and help answer questions regarding unlawful deductions in wages. Examples of such questions include:

  • Can my employer lower my wages because I damaged company property?
  • Can my boss dock my pay for damaging property?
  • Can my employer cut my hours and refuse to pay my bonuses because I lost company property?
  • Can my boss refuse to pay me because of business losses?
  • My employer’s company lost money, and my employer is docking my pay. When I received my pay check, it was too shot. Can he legally do that? Can I sue my boss?
  • Can an employer deduct wages for mistakes?

Here is what you need to know about deductions from your paycheck.

When Can My Employer Legally Deduct Wages from My Paycheck?

In the state of California, an employer is not legally allowed to withhold or deduct wages from an employee. As with most laws, however, there are exceptions to that rule. In order for employers to legally withhold or deduct wages from their employees’ wages, the circumstances must match with at least one of the following conditions:

  • Required, or empowered to do so by federal law;
  • The deduction which has occurred is authorized in writing in the employment contract, or other official document, which the employee has signed to cover necessary expenses such as health care and insurance premiums, benefit plan contributions, or other deductions which do not amount to a rebate;
  • Deductions which are meant to cover welfare, health, or pensions contributions which is expressly authorized by the employee’s signature by a wage or collective bargaining agreement.

If your employer has deducted wages from your employee paycheck and they do not seem to correspond with any conditions noted above, they may have violated the law which gives you the right to file a claim against your employer and collect the damages which are available to you.

California Wage and Hour Laws

When Can My Employer NOT Deduct Wages from My Paycheck?


An employer may not, under California law, deduct wages from employees’ paycheck under any of the following circumstances:

  • Any amount of an employee’s tips (CA Labor Code Section (CALCS) 351);
  • To cover the costs of any photograph that is required by the employer (CA Labor Code Section 401);
  • Costs of bonds which are required by the employer for the employee or applicant (CA Labor Code Section 401);
  • For the costs of a uniform which is required to be worn by the employee, unless that employee has consented by signature to have the cost of the uniform deducted from their very last paycheck if not returned to the employer on their last day of work (CA Labor Code Section 2802);
  • The costs of tools which the employee must use on the field unless the employee earns two times or more than the minimum wage. In that case, the employee may be required to purchase hand tools and other equipment which is customarily used in the industry under which the employee works (CA Labor Code Section 2802);
  • Costs associated with any pre-employment medical or physical exam that is required by the employer and as a condition of employment, whether it be local, state, or federal regulations (CA Labor Code Sections 222.5).

Payroll Attorney

Can My Employer Deduct Wages Because of Property Damage for a Mistake I Made?


Employers are not allowed to legally deduct wages from an employee’s paycheck because of cash shortages, dishonored check, or even breakage or damage to company property. The only way that employers can deduct wages is if the damage in property can be shown to have been done willfully, or by the obvious and gross negligence of an employee. (Industrial Welfare Commission Orders, Section 8).

So, for example, let’s say that you accidentally trip and knock over a desktop and break it. This was due to an accident, and so an employer cannot deduct the price of buying a new one from your paycheck. If, however, you are angry and punch the computer which causes it to break, your employer may deduct the cost of the computer from your paycheck because you willfully destroyed the property of the company.

Common Wage Violations in California

The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is here to make sure that justice gets served. If your employer has wrongfully deducted money from your paycheck because you damaged company property, you have the right to file a claim against your employer. We at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee. Free consultation will give you the opportunity to sit down with one of our attorneys and explain your case. They will give you their initial thoughts on your case, like if they believe it’s strong enough or if they even want to represent you. There is no financial obligation and whether or not you want to contract us is completely up to you!

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The zero-fee guarantee is our promise to our clients which states we will use every available resource to prove your claim. If we cannot prove your case, you do not pay for our services. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!

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