Is It Acceptable To Fine Bad Chauffeurs?

Posted on April 16, 2014 by - Also by this author

I spoke with yet another operator last week who shared with me how he “fines” his drivers for various “infractions.”  If you have been in this business any length of time, you have probably heard of this crazy practice. A practice that is illegal!

I’m not going to reveal his name or his company name or his city or anything else that might lead to a labor commission investigation. In fact, if I did reveal, some do-good attorney would probably call me to contact the drivers of the company and represent them. It’s a super big no-no in California. The Industrial Welfare Commission Order 9-2001 Section 8 very specifically says:
Cash shortage and breakage:
No employer shall make any deduction from the wage or require any reimbursement from an employee for any cash shortage, breakage, or loss of equipment, unless it can be shown that the shortage, breakage, or loss is caused by a dishonest or willful act, or by the gross negligence of the employee.

Gross negligence is something that a court probably would need to decide. The law is pretty clear, as much as you would like to charge your driver for damage done to a vehicle, you can’t. Pure and simple; you cannot charge. Why limo operators think they are above the law all the time boggles my mind. If a driver does damage and offers to pay, you better get it in writing because that is the only way you can take money from their check. And, you better make absolutely sure that the employee was not coerced into signing the document or you will find yourself in even bigger trouble for doing that.

In a similar scheme, operators have been known to ask employees to contribute to a “fund” such as an accident deductible fund. Let’s say the company has a $1,000 deductible. If there is a major accident, the money can be taken from the fund to pay it. Or, if the accident is minor and can be paid for by the fund, then the fund is used for that. In this crazy practice, each driver “agrees” to take a certain amount out of his check each pay period, such as $5. It goes into the pot. The pot always has money. Guess who controls the money? Yes, the operator. While you may present it to the new chauffeur as, “this is how we do it and it could benefit you,” it doesn’t wash in court.

You decided to go into business. The risk of operating the business is solely yours. Man up! Don’t try to make your employees pay for unintentional damage unless maybe you want to share your profits with them as well. That’s fair!

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

View comments or post a comment on this story. (3 Comments)

More LCT Blog Blog Posts

September 13, 2017

Create A Handbook Your Employees Will Actually Read

Black and white words on a page are boring and uninspiring; here are some things to consider when creating a how-to guide for your company.

August 29, 2017

Billy The Coach: How To Plan And Prepare For Success

The LCT Summit keynoter starts contributing this week to our blog by asking: What is it you want bad enough to work for?

August 16, 2017

Don’t Let Poor Grammar, Spelling, And Punctuation Ruin Your Image

You are what you write. Make sure you leave a good business impression, especially on social media.

August 8, 2017

Behind The Screens: Why Face Time Matters

Computers and smartphones have conditioned us to text and email our way through life. Here’s how Millennials and managers can work together to break the habit.

July 31, 2017

Let's Not Make AI The New Y2K Scare

Machines will not take away all of our jobs any more than the Y2K scare ushered in Armageddon.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (3)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - September 2017 $12.95 MOTORCOACH / BUS ISSUE COVER STORY: * Irizar Racks Up A Good Rookie Year * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close