If I work at a convenience store and we have a drive off so a person pumps gas and doesn’t pay or we have a returned check, is it legal if the owner takes it out of our check?

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If I work at a convenience store and we have a drive off so a person pumps gas and doesn’t pay or we have a returned check, is it legal if the owner takes it out of our check?

Asked on September 9, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

While it is legal to hold an employee responsible for drive-offs, an employer cannot make any paycheck deductions (regardless of the reason) without the express written consent of the employee. If an employer wants to be reimburse for such a loss, it can either work out a prepayment arrangment with you or it can sue you in small claims court.
Of course, if you are in an "at will" employment arrangement (and most employment relationships are at will)), then your employer can termiate you for failure to reimburse it.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal to simply take it out of your check employers may not debit or withhold money from employee checks without employee consent or agreement, other than as required by law e.g. for taxes, or court ordered wage garnishment. However, what they can do is
1 They could, of course, fire you for they believe costing them money.
2 They could sue you in court, including  in small claims court, for any amounts they believe you cost them through being negligent, or not sufficiently attentive if they can prove you were at fault, they could recover the money.
Of course, it's not likely worth their while to sue it is reasonably likely, however, that if you don't agree to let them have the money or otherwise repay them for costs or losses that they believe you caused, that they will terminate you.


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