Charging for company property

I hope someone can help with this. We have a guidebook that some of our employees are required to keep with them while performing their jobs.  Everyone in this position is issued a book.  They were fairly expensive to produce and our manager wants to have the employees sign an agreeement that they will have to pay back the amount of the book if they lose/destroy it.  Can we charge someone for this?  Do we treat this like we would a uniform? 

 Thanks for your help!!  Any advice would be appreciated.


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I believe your ability to recover the loss through a paycheck deduction is very limited and depends on your state law.  The agreement might be unenforceable.
  • Thanks.  That is what I thought also.  Unfortunately I can't find anything that gives details for our state.  I will keep searching.....
  • Under federal law, you can deduct the cost of providing "tools of the trade" and other material necessary for carrying out your business as long as the deduction does not reduce the employee's pay below minimum wage. Not sure if a guidebook would fall  under this. I would contact your state department of labor, they are usually very helpful on this type of stuff.
  • In <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Oregon an employee can authorize the employer to deduct regular payments for items purchased from the employer for the employee’s personal benefit. The guidebook, in your case is a requirement of the job and not a useful tool that some employees chose to use to make their job easier.  In this state you can not charge an employee for breakage, loss or shortages as they are assumed to be part of the cost of doing business. 

  • In Texas, the employer has wide latitude in terms of what kinds of things it can deduct from a paycheck but only if there is a pre-existing written agreement between the employee and employer.  To prevent coercion, Texas employers cannot make an agreement today for a deduction regarding an item lost last week.

    What state are you in?

  • How expensive is each book and how many are lost each year?  Is annual cost under $100? It may not be worth your time in investigating the topic. Just really emphasize at orientation that the handbook is the responsibility of each employee and it must not be misplaced and put this statement in any orientation handouts.

    Just my opinion, but maybe you should look for a less expensive way to produce the books so the charge isn't so significant. It isn't good for PR to have employees telling their coworkers how they were charged a lot for losing the handbook.

Sign In or Register to comment.