“I’m being sued by a former employee. He came back drunk from lunch, crashed his forklift, and destroyed $1,000.00 of product. Our security cameras caught it all and it was clearly his gross negligence that caused the accident. I fired him on the spot and took the $1,000.00 out of his final pay. I’m in the right here…right?”
I get a lot of calls like this and unfortunately, no, that’s not the right thing to do. According to Minnesota Statues 181.79, even if the employer has a valid claim against an employee an employer can only deduct from wages earned if the employee authorizes the deduction in writing. Without such an authorization, you need to pay him the wages owed, and then go after him in court for what he owes you.