Can I recovery my losses from employee theft by withholding the amounts stolen from their last paycheck?

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Can I recovery my losses from employee theft by withholding the amounts stolen from their last paycheck?

I am a small business owner and have been in business for over 20 years. I recently took inventory and noticed that several items were stolen. I have a security camera that shows several employees stealing items from my store. I called the police and had the parties, that were on my videotape, arrested. Since they were my employees on payroll, can I subtract or garnish their wages for the items that were taken? I have fired them, so this may be my only chance to recovery some of my loses. Is this the right course of action?

Asked on January 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Am employer may only withhold money from an employee's paycheck unless the terms of the employment say that it can.  For example, if there is a stated company policy or an employment/union contract that provides for this.  However, an employer can sue an employee in civil court to recover any amounts wrongfully taken.  Additionally, a criminal court can make restitution to you a condition of any sentence imposed. 


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