You Break it you pay for it, company policy

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Green Finger, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    You guys with employees.

    What is your policy when they break a piece of expensive equipment?
    Do they pay for it?
    Employee deductions?or do you take it all out on the next check?(lump sum)

    I had a guy working for me over the summer and he breaks the forks on the front walk behind. HOW CAN YOU BREAK THOSES FORKS ON THE WALK BEHIND. TWICE!!!!!!!! :angry: :angry:

    I had to take it to the welding shop to have it fixed.

    So tell me; those with employees how do you handle it when your equipment is broken.
  2. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    Not 100% sure, but I don't think you can charge an employee when they break something. We've discussed this here before and I think that was the general consensus. I don't even know who you would get that info from. The state? Not sure but I'd like to get an answer also.
  3. Organix

    Organix LawnSite Member
    Posts: 113

    In California it is illegal for employers to deduct money from employees for breaking anything. If it was done in the normal course of the employee's duties there is nothing you can do. If it was some kind of negligence, than I suppose you could fire him and make a civil case against him.

    I would hope most state's would have similar laws to protect people. From your perspective, it may seem unfair, but there has been a long history in this country where employers would take advantage by deducting for things related to the job broken or not.

    Write it off as a business expense and try the best you can to get good employee's and train them well. Best I can say.
  4. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 565

    If it is issued to him and is his responsibility in whole. I think you could but in our case I don't think we can, unless he is using it "off duty" without your permission and there is negligence.

  5. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839


    What you are saying is YOU pay for a brand new ZTR, and you trained the guy. But let's say a month later, some how he blows up the engine or runs it in the lake.
    Just write it off?

    I know what mistakes are, but if we own the company we have to pay?
  6. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Yep the mistakes are called "Overheads",you have to build them in your pricing.
  7. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 403

    Green finger,

    In the state of Ky it is illegal to deduct from the wages... I believe it is against the law on all 50 states.

    It is the price you pay for being the owner.

    I didn't get your profile. If you have ever worked for the Man and broke something.... did he ask or threatened you to cough up the money.

    Now if you had a employee worth a hoot. And let's say there was a big ticket item that they broke. I would hope they tell you and offer to help with the expense or you buy the parts and they fixed on their own time. I have had this happen.

    I train the guys and they know how expensive the equipment is.

    But accidents happen and they will always happen if you do anything.... the only way nothing gets broke is if you don't use it...
  8. matitude

    matitude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    In Michigan, if you can prove that the damage was caused intentionally or by using the machine other than in the way it was reasonably expected to be used you can charge the employee for all damages. But you cannot deduct this money from the employees pay. You have to bill him and hope that he pays.
  9. Organix

    Organix LawnSite Member
    Posts: 113

    Yup, that's what I'm saying. I understand your point of view, and I'm sure I would feel the same if in your shoes. But on balance, I think those kind of laws are justified. Not everyone is as honest as you and I. Immigrant Irish railroad workers were charged for their tools and other misc items to the point they basically made nothing. It has been done to minors and factory workers over the years. All these kind of laws did not just happen because someone thought they would try to make it harder for you to run your business. They are all in response to years of experience of people getting tooled by their employers.

    I went into biz for myself because I'm tired of getting tooled by corps. Maybe it would be easier for you to accept this if you could think back of a company you worked for where you broke something or one that took advantage of you. Try to put yourself in the employees shoes. If the guy can't do the job without breaking things, fire him.

    I worked for a contractor who was also a Baptist minister, and when his Christian friend cut his leg with a chainsaw, he was mad and his attitude was not concern for the guys health, but how much the workers comp claim was going to cost him.

    If these kind of situations bother you too much, you may want to just be a solo. I am kind of avoiding getting to the point where I need to hire labor for all these reasons.
  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I'm sure laws vary a lot state to state, but I bet you could sure lower his hourly pay rate. I've not heard of laws against pay cuts before.

    I would can anyone who broke forks on a commercial wb twice. He obviously isn't even trying out there.

    As for regular "mistakes", I think you should let the first one go if the person is otherwise doing a good job. It probably costs you more to hire and train a new employee than the broken part costs in many cases.

    Nobody's perfect. But there are always creative ways to make someone behave if you put your mind to it.

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