Can my employer demand I pay back money stolen from their lunch wagon?

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Can my employer demand I pay back money stolen from their lunch wagon?

I’m an hourly employee. I took 2 minutes to travel less than 100 feet to the bathroom, shutting the vehicle’s doors before I left, but the doors do not lock and there is no other secure place to store it. My employer is trying to hold me responsible and garnish my wages for over $1,000 that was stolen.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Hawaii

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, an employer can make an employee pay for money that was stolen out of the "till" (i.e. cash register, etc). In an "at will" employment arrangement an employer can hire or fire as it deems necessary and impose whatever terms and conditions of employment as it sees fit. Unless this violates a union or employment contract or this action is the result of some form of discrimination, an employer is within its rights to require such a payment. 

That having been said, an employer may not deduct from an employee's paycheck for this; at least without the employee's prior consentor if an existing company policy allowing for this is already in effect. If such a deduction is made the employee can report such action to yourstate's department of labor.


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