I’ve asked Lee A Schwartz, Esq. to contribute as my guest blogger. He’s written an interesting article which I believe would be of interest to many who spend their work hours behind the wheel.
– Warren Goldberg
I’m sure by now either you have received or, at the very least, have heard about those annoying red light tickets or the school zone speeding tickets. Nassau County has collected over $1.4 million since school started, and projects to receive as much as $25 million a year from those annoying and costly speed camera tickets. In 2013, Suffolk County generated more than $19 million from red light camera tickets, and has estimated bringing in $30 million this year with the installation of more cameras.
We all know by now how they work. Once a vehicle passes through an intersection when the traffic light is red, or speed through a school zone, an $80 ticket is then sent by mail to the registered owner of the vehicle. It doesn’t matter who was driving the vehicle, the ticket is assessed against the owner of the vehicle. Although not legal, some employers are requiring their employees to pay tickets issued to company vehicles.
EMPLOYEES CANNOT BE FORCED TO PAY
New York State Labor Law says that an employer cannot make unauthorized deductions from an employee’s wages, nor demand separate payments to cover a company expense. It also makes it unlawful for an employer to demand that an employee reimburse an employer, even for company expenses caused by an employee’s mistake. Since a ticket issued on a company owned vehicle is considered a company expense, you cannot be required to pay the fine associated with the ticket. The one exception is if you offer to voluntarily pay the fine. Even in this case, your offer must be truly voluntary (and not coerced) otherwise there could be repercussions for the employer from the Labor Department.
BUT BEWARE THERE CAN BE OTHER CONSEQUENCES
Just because there may be no monetary liability for the ticket you receive does not mean that you can disobey traffic laws while driving a company owned vehicle with no repercussions. While you cannot be forced to pay for one of these tickets, your employer can take disciplinary action against you, including firing you or suspending you. Your future raises or bonuses can also be impacted by getting these tickets. Some employers have included express policies on this issue in their employee handbooks so that their employees are aware of the consequences of receiving red light traffic tickets and school zone tickets while driving company vehicles. If your company has a policy, make sure you know what it is.
If you are being held responsible by your employer for the payment of red light traffic tickets or school zone tickets issued while driving a company vehicle, we would be happy to assist you in discussing your rights and options. Contact us if we can be of assistance with any other legal issues or questions.
About the Author:
Lee Schwartz, Esq. is the principal member of Lee A. Schwartz & Associates, located in Melville. He has practiced law for over 20 years in the areas of corporate law and real estate law, and all aspects of trusts and estates. In addition to assisting individual clients, Lee has experience representing various types of business clients throughout the New York metropolitan area. His clients refer to him as a “deal maker” based on his negotiation skills and creativity in structuring transactions.
Lee A. Schwartz & Associates, PLLC
445 Broad Hollow Road, Suite 205
Melville, New York 11747
631-777-2401 Ex. 25