Can my empoyer make me pay back money that was either misplaced or stolen?

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Can my empoyer make me pay back money that was either misplaced or stolen?

I’ve worked for my employer for about 6 months and never had a cash problem until last night. My manager took the money I did have and told me I’d have to pay the rest on my next shift. It totaled out to be $142. She didn’t give me any of my tips and told me that I probably wouldn’t get any tomorrow either. However, I was still told to declare that i made tips in our system. Can they make me pay that money back?

Asked on June 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If an employee him- or herself steals money, or if money belonging to the employer is lost due to the employee's negligence (carelessness), the employer may seek it from the employee. However, the employer may not withhold pay from the employee without the employee's consent. What the employer can do is--

1) Ask the employee for the money

2) Fire the employee, if it believes the employee cost it money and is not willing to make good that loss

3) Sue the employee for the money, trying to prove in court that the employee was responsible for its loss, so as to get a judgment for the money against the employee

However, as stated above, the employer may not actually take the employee's pay or tips, unless the employee agrees; and while the employer can fire an employee, it can't otherwise "make" him/her pay if he/she refuses to, except by suing and winning.


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