Deducting From An Employees Wages Due To Damaging Items

Question

I have a business and sometimes we do deliveries. Last week my driver while delivering to a clients house broke some items through his negligence, the client is claiming the company replace the broken items.

Are we as the company allowed to charge or deductfrom the drivers salary for the broken items?

Answer

From the words “my driver” we assume that you are referring to a driver whom you have employed and contracted to do delivery work for you for a designated number of hours daily, meaning that during those work hours, he works only for your business and is not a free-lance driver who does deliveries for all and sundry. Such an employee is known in Shari’ah as Ajeer-al-Wahd or Ajeer-al-Khaas. Our reply is hence based on the above premise, that he is a driver contracted to work for your business during the designated work hours assigned to him.

The ruling will then be that whilst fulfilling the delivery duties assigned to him, if the items were not deliberately and intentionally broken by the driver, then he cannot be held accountable for the damages. For example, if it was packed glassware in a box that broke during delivery (due to the box slipping from his hand), then the driver cannot be held responsible for breakages and you cannot deduct this from his salary. The business will have to bear the loss. Yes, if the driver intentionally broke the items then he may be held responsible and the amount involved may be deducted from his salary.

If you are uncertain whether the damage was caused intentionally or unintentionally, it is advisable that you do not impose any monetary compensation on the driver. 

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

ثم فرع على هذا الأصل بقؤله ( فلا ضمان على ظئر في صبي ضاع في يدها أو سرق ما عليه ) من الحلي لكونها أجير وحد وكذا لا ضمان على حارس السوق وحافظ الخان

(شامي ص٧١ ج٦

أستؤجر رجل لحفظ خان أو حوانيت فضاع منها شي : قيل ضمن عند أبي يوسف ومحمد لو ضاع من خارج الجرة ؛ لأنه أجير مشترك وقيل لا في الصحيح ، وبه يفتى ؛ لأنه أجير خاص ، ألا ترى أنه لو أراد أن يشغل نفسة في صنع آخر لم يكن له ذلك
(شامي م ٧١ ج٦) 

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