Can an employer hold an employee responsible for items shoplifted durring his time at work and dock their pay for the missing items?

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Can an employer hold an employee responsible for items shoplifted durring his time at work and dock their pay for the missing items?

While I was attending the store, a $650 iPhone was shoplifted. I was the sole employee working and I had several customers so I did not see who took it. My employer has docked my commission check for the $650. Can they legally do that?

Asked on August 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No your employer may not dock your pay; pay may only be withheld as required by law (e.g. FICA) or with employee consent/agreement. However, you may be fired (or suspended, demoted, etc.) if your employer wishes, if you do not have an employment contract. The employer could also sue you for the money,  if it believes that you were negligent (unreasonably careless) and that it was that negligence which led to the loss; to win, the employer would need to prove that in court.


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