Can you be fired from your job and be made to make you pay back hours worked on your car with your manager’s permission?

My nephew worked at an auto chain. He was allowed by his manager to work on his car in the shop without putting it into their system. This was usual practice for other employees as well. Upper management starting reviewing cameras when a large amount of merchandise went missing. They found several employees working on their cars without entering it into the system. Upon reviewing the security cameras they found that my nephew worked on his car for 2 hours. They informed my nephew that he was suspended until further notice. He received a call saying that they didn’t need him and let him go. No paperwork

Asked on August 24, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If your nephew did not have an employment contract of some kind, he was an employee at will. An employee at will may be disciplined, suspended, demoted, or terminated at any time, for any reason, and there is no requirement for notice or paperwork. So without a contract, the employer could do this. (If there was a contract, its terms in relationship to discipline or termination may be enforced.)

2) The employer may not withhold any pay, including from the final paycheck. But if they believe they have a cause of action against your nephew, such as for theft of services (or of any parts he used), they could sue him in court to try to recover compensation for what they believe he took from.

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