In Camara v. Attorney General, the state’s highest court determined that an employer could not make wage deductions when the employer had unilateral power to determine the employee’s negligence and the amount of the damages. Michael Camara is Vice President of ABC Disposal, a garbage company based in New Bedford, and the employer in question.
In this case, truck drivers for ABC Disposal Service were given a choice after an accident. They could accept disciplinary action for causing the accident, or they could pay the company for the damages incurred. Payment was made through weekly payroll deductions with the employee’s written consent. The deductions were small enough so the employee still earned at least the minimum wage each week.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court determined that these deductions were not allowed because the company determined who was at fault for the accident and set a dollar amount on the damages. A company safety office would investigate the accident and report his findings. The supervisory safety manager would then (more…)