What you need to know:
- If he was not the cause of the accident, then the team should use the situation as a learning opportunity.
One of our employees was involved in an accident while driving a company car. Since the employee was at fault, his manager wants to make him pay for the repairs. We currently do not have a policy covering this type of situation. May we require the employee to cover the cost of the car repairs? Dani
Hello Dani ,
It is not unusual for a member of staff to have an accident while driving a company vehicle. It happens. What is important is how the situation is managed. I am of the view that you will be working with more than one policy while addressing this matter. In such cases, there are always two to three significant aspects that need to be addressed.
The first is the well-being of the staff member who was involved in the car accident. You will need to check that he has not sustained any injuries seen or unseen, that he is not traumatised in any way. Hopefully, you have provided your employee with medical insurance cover to manage any treatment through the medical cover scheme. Your employee medical insurance cover is likely to be addressed in your reward and remuneration policy.
The second matter that you will need to address is the investigation of the accident. This investigation will address two points. It will determine the cause of the accident, where the findings will then be passed onto your vehicle insurer.
The second is that it will guide you on managing your employee if he is found at fault. It is common practice that companies insure their vehicles. The insurance cover will automatically cover aspects such as car theft, vandalism, accidents and the like. In this regard, your insurance should cover the cost of repairs, and there should be no need to ask the employee to pay for the repairs. Your insurer is likely to ask for an investigation report, so the investigation is an important activity that must be undertaken. This aspect should be part of your Fleet Management Policy.
The second aspect your investigation will cover is the cause of the accident. If it is found the staff member was at fault, he should be managed through the disciplinary process.
Generally, under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), an employer cannot withhold, cause to return or make a deduction from wages because of an employee’s ‘faulty work’ [like] damage to company tools/vehicles.
If an employee has been in a car accident in a company car, they are allowed to get legal assistance if needed.
There are many factors to consider, from who is at fault to insurance company concerns, but the best way to handle the situation is to follow your company policy to determine the right course.
If he was not the cause of the accident, then the team should use the situation as a learning opportunity.
Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]