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Can my employer withhold pay for loss of company property

Pensacola, FL |

I lost a key and I pre authorized my employer to withhold money to cover thier loss. Is this legal.

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Attorney answers 2


Can you give some more details? What was the value of the key? How much did you authorize the employer to withhold? Did you receive your paycheck less the amount of the key? Are you still an employee with the employer? Did they take more than you authorized?

Do you want to see if you have a cause of action for unpaid wages?

Zonald Spinks, Esq. Phone: (813) 413-5352 Fax: (813) 658-5893 Twitter: @ZonaldLaw Skype: Zonaldlaw Disclaimer: legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. This information is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation, it is only provided as information.



The cost to "re key" the locks and replace the 8 keys was 150.00, and yes i did authrorize them to withhold that amount. No I am no longer employed there and was terminated for swearing at the owner when I was informed that i would have to pay for the lost key, 150.00 was taken from my last check. I wanted to know if this is a legal action.

Zonald Evan Spinks

Zonald Evan Spinks


Did you sign something in writing that you agreed to the withhold of your paycheck? Generally, employers can't withhold pay in Florida. But for a case like this, you certainly agreed to it, so you would have a tough claim for unpaid wages. If it's in writing, it would be almost impossible. Illegal? Probably not if you agreed to it. I would recommend speaking to an attorney in your area that handles unpaid wage claims. There is generally no charge for this type of consultation as attorney fees would be paid by the employer if you prevailed in your claim. Good luck.


I am following up on Attorney Spinks' comment for the purpose of seconding his recommendation to consult an employment lawyer familiar with Florida wage and hour law.

In Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court last year (Camara v Attorney General, 458 Mass. 756 issued a finding that a written policy of the plaintiff's employer, "ABC Disposal Service, Inc. (ABC), under which a worker found by ABC to be at fault in an accident involving company trucks may agree to a deduction from earned wages in lieu of discipline, violates a key provision of the Massachusetts Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, § 148 (§ 148)" and concluding that "the statute prohibits wage deductions associated with an employer's unilateral determination of an employee's fault and damages; and that the ABC policy, by withholding employees' wages, contravenes the Wage Act."

With wage and hour law changing rapidly in many states, it would be worth your while to consult an attorney. In Massachusetts, violations of the Wage Act trigger triple damages and mandatory attorneys fees. So even a loss of $150 could be worth litigating.

Attorney Horan is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. The response provided here is informational only, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.