Can a restaurant make you pay back lost money?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can a restaurant make you pay back lost money?

I lost a $100 bill tonight that was owed to the restaurant that I work for. I have been told they can’t legally make me pay it back. Is that true?

Asked on September 18, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They can't take the money from your pay or tips without your consent or agreement, that is true. If they do, you could contact the state dept. of labor to file a complaint or sue them in small claims for the money.
But they can:
1) terminate or fire you, for costing them money and refusing to repay it (unless you have a written employment contract preventing them from terminating you at this time or for this reason, since without a contract, you are an "employee at will"); and/or
2) they could sue you in small claims for the money, since if you careless lost another's money you are liable for it--though for $100, it is hardly worthwhile for them to do so.

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