What is an employee’s responsibility to make up a cash draw shortage?

At the end of the day, an employee had a shortage of their cash drawer. There were 2 other people who used it and 1 was me. When hired, policy stated that only 1 person per register never to share and 1st time having a shortage would be a written warning. No where did it say it must be paid back. The manager said that we must split the shortage and pay it back. I asked if we paid it back would there still be a warning and he said no. Is this legal?

Asked on November 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The law in most states is that as long as an employee still earns at least the minimum wage after a deduction for a cash drawer shortage, there's no prohibition against charging the employee(s for such a shortage. This is true providing this has been existing company policy. If it is a new policy, the employee can only be charged for shortages after the policy went into effect.
That having been said, some states require employers to get the employee's written consent before they can make this type of deduction directly from an employee's paycheck. And a few states only allow these deductions if the employer can show that the employee acted dishonestly or negligently, or if the employee assumes responsibility for the loss.
Therefore, unless you have a union agreement or an employment contract that prohibits you from being held liable for a cash draw shortage, your employer's action is most probably permissable. To be sure, contact your state's department of labor or an employment law attorney.


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