Is my manager allowed to do this?

I work as a cashier at a coffee shop. When the cashier’s drawer is short as in, there is not enough cash in the drawer at the end of the shift according to what the register says it should be the cashier is required to pay the sum of the shortages to the manager. If we don’t pay, she threatens to deny us tips. A co-worker of mine told me that what she is doing is illegal. I wanted to fact check on that. I am highly concerned this is some sort of embezzling scheme on the

manager’s part.

Asked on August 24, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your coworker is partly right. She is correct in that the law does not let the employer withhold pay from employee paychecks or tips without employee consent (agreement) to do so (or without a court order--like a wage garnishment order, against someone not paying child support), even if the employer believes the employee cost them money. Withholding money is not an option.
But if an employee does not have a written employment contract protecting or guarantying her job, she is an "employee at will." An employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason, including that her cash drawer comes up short. Employees at will, unfortunately, have not protections for or rights to their jobs. So the employer could elect to terminate an employee if it believes (whether rightly or wrongly--the employer does not have be correct) the employee is losing or taking money from the cash drawer.


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