Do I have to pay my employer for uniforms that was not deducted from paycheck

I am a bookkeeper and I had an employee that I didn’t put uniform deduction on. This employee happens to be family and it wasn’t done on purpose. The employee is no longer here and the owner of the company is wanting me to pay for this employees uniforms for 3 years. Is this legal? He has signed off on all paychecks and now that I am leaving the company he says I owe him that money.

Asked on March 22, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If an employee's negligence costs their employer to losemoney, then they are liable for any such amounts lost. That is unless such an action is prohibited under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Otherwise, as an "at will" worker, you can be fired for not covering what you owe. In fact, absent some form of actionable discrimnation, you can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you negligently (carelessly) cost your employer money by forgetting to take a uniform deduction, you are responsible for the amounts. Anyone whose carelessness costs another money is responsible for the lose. If you refuse to voluntarily pay but were at-fault in causing the loss (e.g. by not putting the deduction on), you could be sued for the money by your employer; you could also be terminated unless you have a written employment contract protecting you from termination for this reason.

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