VIC Employer Making Employee Pay Excess

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2 June 2022
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Hi All,

I work at a mid-size IT company of about 200 employees. I've been given a company car as part & had 2 accidents in it, one a months or so ago & the other happened less than 24 hours ago.

The company now suddenly wants $1,250 for each of these two incidents totaling $2,500. I was suddenly pulled back into the office & asked if I wanted to pay this in one go or set up a payment plan. I said I didn't want to rush, as I have no understanding of my rights as the employee in this situation & want to know how these costs were accrued as well as why or how I am liable for the damages, & what proceedings will take place if I refuse to make the payment. I had a look in my employee contract & found that there was nothing in there about insurance or damages - this contract is with a 2nd, separate company that does my employer's HR & financial management.

Their "employee handbook" however - which does have my signature on it claiming I have read & understand it - does have a section which states:

"Damage caused by driver carelessness or negligence must be covered at the drivers’ expense. The difference between fair wear and tear and damage caused by carelessness and negligence will be decided at the discretion of management. In the case of carelessness and negligence, team members are liable for repair costs or insurance excess, whichever is less, and will be deducted from the team member’s salary."

I'm not sure if this "handbook" is as legally binding in this situation as the employee contract, especially leaving their definition of carelessness and negligence up to management seems sketchy. Furthermore, I don't think there's anything in my actual employment contract binding the handbook as a legally binding document. The handbook itself is riddled with various other inconsistencies & arbitrated rules that are constantly violated daily by employees, so I believe it to be questionable at best.

Thanks,
Pino.
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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It seems unlikely you have an obligation to pay.

They'd have to prove you deliberately or recklessly caused the damage.