Can my employer require me to pay back money that was stolen via theft under my watch?

I work at a bar that charges of cover fee for kids 18-20 on Tuesday evenings – 2 am. I was in charge of the money bag at the time but my attention was elsewhere when the theft occurred. Am I legally obligated to pay the employer back? I believe I am what’s known as an

Asked on January 17, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The employer cannot take the money out of your paycheck without your permission, agreement or consent: the law is clear on that. But what he can do is:
1) He can terminate/fire you if you won't repay the money: as an employee at will, you have no job protection and may be fired at any time for any reason, including the employer being upset that you won't pay back money stolen on your watch. (Or he could do anything "less than" firing: suspend you, demote you, cut hours or pay, etc.)
2) He could sue you for the money, though to win and get a court judgment requiring you to pay, he'd have to prove either a) you intentionally stole or helped someone steal it, or b) you were "unreasonably careless" or negligent in failing to keep a better eye on the money.


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