Can my employer make me pay for an accidental charge?

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Can my employer make me pay for an accidental charge?

I work for a restaurant owned by Kimpton Hotels. I am a server and 1 night, I had 4 women at a table pay their tab with 4 different credit cards. In my haste, I charged 1 credit card twice and didn’t charge 1 of the other credit cards. So, 1 woman was charged twice and another woman wasn’t charged at all. My managers are now making me give them my total tips from that table to compensate for the $96. that wasn’t paid for by the fourth woman (each woman should have paid $96, but 1 woman paid $192). So, instead of having the company I work for “eat it”, they are making me give my total tips from that table ($64) that way they only have to pay $32 of the loss and not the $96. Is this legal?

Asked on August 27, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you had agreed in advance to this term of condition (e.g. it's a condition of employment that servers are responsible for bills and must make up shorts) then they could probably do this. (It'd need to be structured properly, but there are ways to do it.) Without prior agreement to that condition, they cannot force you to pay the money...though if you are employee at will, nothing stops your employer from firing you if they deem that you're a bad employee or cost  them money. This is in many ways a grey area; while you can stand on your rights, that can potentially cost you more later, since if you sufficiently annoy your employer, odds are good that, if not now, soon, they'll terminate you. You therefore need to carefully weigh and decide what you want to do. Good luck.


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