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

March 8, 2017

Immigration Issues Can Hit Limo Operators

Illegal or not, immigrants in one California region spend hard-earned money on renting stretch limousines.

March 1, 2017

Did The Dent Fairy Come To Visit You?

Unlike the tooth fairy and baby teeth, the dent fairy never runs out of vehicles.

February 15, 2017

My Unofficial International LCT Show Agenda

The suite parties, charity fundraisers, and off-the-grid get togethers round out a complete global industry trade show.

February 14, 2017

How To Practice Common Sense Customer Service

It's one of the most important and difficult qualities to hire for, since it emerges in unexpected situations on the job.

February 1, 2017

3 Big Fouls From My First Uber Rides

Operators don't have much to worry about if TNC drivers keep acting like this.

See More

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (3)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - June/Fact Book 2017 $12.95 * Facts & Stats * Directors & Guides *


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