Dock his pay?


LawnSite Bronze Member
Just had an employee back one truck into another - caused $4k in damage. In situations like this, has anyone docked the employees paycheck? (by the way, it happened simply because he wasn't paying attention-the damaged truck was parked)


LawnSite Bronze Member
SE Pennsylvania
I don't think docking his pay is fair. Accidents happen and that's why we carry insurance. Bet he pays more attention next time he backs up the truck.


LawnSite Senior Member
Unless the damage was intentional and you can prove it docking his pay really isn't right. Like scraper said thats what we carry insurance for. I don't think it would hurt to show him what its going to cost to fix it and have a discussion about the fact that he needs to take the time to make sure this does not happen the future. I just had a guy get out of a tandem dump to talk to one of my operators and he turned around to see my brand new $130,000 mack rolling down the street in to a parked car. I didnt even go I just told him to leave our name and get back to work.If the guy is a good employee you don't have to say much and if he had to call it in over the radio you don't have to say anything he will be plenty sorry.


LawnSite Member
Never made a mistake Stone? I have made plenty. If this employee is mistake prone I would consider losing him. If he is worthy get him back in the saddle and give him a reprimand. I have had plenty of dents in truck due to employees but also I have put a few dents in myself.


LawnSite Member
Cape Cod, MA
Earthworks is right and I believe docking an employees pay is illegal. Thats also why your taking home a couple thousand a week and he's taking home $500. don't let the little stuff get to you.


LawnSite Bronze Member
I won't dock his pay, but was still pretty mad when I started the thread above needed time to cool off - here's the not-so-funny addition...This morning we're driving to a new job site, and stop to collect a check from another customer. He starts our only other big truck (the one he used to smash the aforementioned one), and it catches on fire.

Wasn't his fault, and it looks like it was a power steering fluid leak that caused it - told him I was going to start calling him 'Crash', but now I think I'll call him 'Crash and Burn'.



LawnSite Member

I know that you have already made up your mind, but I would still like to tell my story. When I was working as a carpenter's apprentice, the builder told me to sweep out the trailer attached to his pickup. I went to step up on the back and quickly found out that the trailer wasn't coupled to the ball. Put a huge scrape and dent in his tailgate. I offered to pay for it, and he gave me some sound advice. He said that old "If I ahd a nickel for every time a truck got damaged on the job, I'd be a rich man." Sounds corny, but when I thought about it, its kinda true. He then told me that he once had a framing crew throw the air hoses and extention cords in to the back of his pickup when they were cleaning up. Only problem is that they were on the roof of a 3 story building and they didn't have good aim.

When I hiried some help, one of the guys accidentaly put a huge scratch in the side of my new trailer (in his first 10 min on the job). I let it go, and he became my most productive worker. The story above influenced my decision to not reprimand him.



LawnSite Bronze Member
morristown, nj
I think everyone is right with the fact that there's not much you can do about it. Hopefully he's learned his lesson and it won't happen again. It sure stinks to hear that one of your nice trucks got smashed up, but I don't think there's a company in the world that doesn't have the same problem.

For instance, we just are getting rid of our last college part time helper this week, and have tallied up the total 'destruction list'.

Here it is:

Toro groundmasters:

1 broken rear axle (kid didn't realize that the rear wheels were hitting things when he swung around during high speed kamikaze turns.

1 piece of aluminum siding: Damaged from the kid slaming the rear wheels of the mower into a hanger wall.

1 gear box: famous quote: "I smelled something funny, but thought it was normal!"

1 enclosed mower cab: when speeding around the airfield at speeds seldom seen at Indy, the cab on the mower broke every weld and just about fell off do to the HARD abuse.

Mower blades: Lost count of how many of those........

string trimmer:

1 string head: famous quote: 'you can't just drag the head on the road all day while edging the curbs?"

1 stihl fs74: yet another quote: 'I didn't realize the air filter had fallen off'


chains- I heard a rumor our chain sharpner man is going to retire after the summer he just had.....

chain bars - yet another one, "I kept getting the bar stuck in the tree everytime it was about to fall"

350 mason dump:

paint scratches - lost track

dents - still finding new ones as the days go on.

best dent situation. Decided to park the truck directly behind a gate while they got some cold 'sodies' because it gets hot outside when you actually have to work. When gate opened, slammed into the side of the cab. then kept hitting it because it was still trying to open.

kawasaki mule: time can only tell what else, but it now rides with a slight 45 degree tilt to the right. Hardly noticeable.........still waiting on parts.

Airfield lights taken out while mowing:

1,2,3,4,5, me how many. Planes will just have to come in during the daylight hours.

Environmental issues: famous roundup quote: "I thought you said 16 ounces per gallon, not 16 ounces per 4 gallon back pack sprayer!'

I always was wondering why nothing grows in those spots.......

And others:

Lord only knows what kind of damage we will soon uncover over the next few months.

I'm just glad I work there and its not my stuff. The thought of having other people use my tools/equip is the reason I try to stay solo on my own side jobs.




LawnSite Fanatic
N.E. Wisconsin
I work for a Fire Department just a little North of you and we used to have backing problems until we implimented a Standard Operating Procedure for backing vehicles.

Its always a two person job when anything bigger than a car is backed. The accident rate has dropped to ZERO for backing. If you don't have two people you don't back up. Time off can be given if we violate this.

On the Power steering fire. Murphys law. We had a Fire engine burn up while operating a fire scene from a hydraulic leak a few years ago. That looks bad. Thank God I was not on duty.


LawnSite Bronze Member
No.VA, zone 7
Hey Steveair,
Its good that you can tell that story with a smile because it sure made me laugh. Reminded me of the time we had a new guy use over 200' of trimmer string in one day. He came to work in sandals, so we loaned him some workboots---last we ever saw of him. That was a cheap lesson to learn in comparison to yours.