Q. An employee driving a backhoe backed into a wall and tore the door off. We had to install a new door ($275), but the employee quit that same week. So we deducted $275 from his last check. Now he says he’s talking to a lawyer. Were we right? — Mary Ann, Oklahoma
A. It may seem unfair, but in most jurisdictions, an employer is precluded from deducting money fromwithout obtaining employee consent in advance. Similarly, many states (including Oklahoma) preclude employers from deducting the cost of lost or damaged property from an employee’s wages. In short, your recourse when an employee engages in misconduct is typically to terminate or discipline the employee.