Can an employer have a employee pay back credit card non payment after following what a manager instructed to do?

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Can an employer have a employee pay back credit card non payment after following what a manager instructed to do?

My daughter works at a zaxbys and one day the credit card machines where not working properly. She told her manager they were not working so the manager told her what to do and proceed taking credit cards. The company can’t get the money from the credit card companies so they are making my daughter pay the amout of all the cc charges back. Is this legal or should the instructing manager be charged for it?

Asked on October 12, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They can't take money from your daughter's paycheck without her consent or agreement. (Employers can never deduct money from employee pay without employee agreement, except as otherwise required by law, such as for wage garnishment or tax withholding.) 
They can't force her to repay the money unless they sue her in court and win by proving that she was at fault (e.g. negligent, or unreasonably careless) in causing the loss--and based on what you write, she was not, since she did what she was instructed to by a manager.
BUT unless she has a written employment contract protecting her employment in some way, she is an "employee at will" and may be terminated at will: any time, for any reason, even completely unfair or inappropriate ones--like for following her manager's instructions. She needs to consider her employer's power to terminate you and the value to her of her job in deciding how to respond here.


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