Russia: Is the employer allowed to impose financial penalties on employees?

The existing labour law clearly defines what kind of penalties employers are allowed to apply to their employees. The employer may only impose financial or disciplinary sanctions in cases set out by the Labour Code of the Russian Federation (Article 137). In such cases it is lawful for an employer to deduct certain amounts from an employee’s salary. These cases include: recovery of an advance payment for work that has not been performed, recovery of an unspent advance payment, recovery of any amounts paid in excess due to a technical error, etc. This list does not include any penalties for workplace rule violations and therefore it is unlawful for an employer to impose financial penalties for such violations.

What is the liability of the employer?

Employers that apply any unlawful sanctions to their employees, he may be subject to an inspection by officials from the state prosecution office or from the state labour inspection.  In addition, the law imposes administrative liability on employers in such cases. Employees have the right to claim enforcement of their rights and to take legal action against their employer and if the case is decided in their favour the employer will be liable to pay all legal fees.

What should the employer do in case of workplace violations?

If an employee has committed any workplace rule violation, the law permits to impose a disciplinary sanction: a note, a reprimand and a termination of contract. The employer is not allowed to use other sanctions. However, if an employee has caused any damage to the employer, such an employee may be liable to compensate the damage, whether fully or partly.