Can an employer deduct for shortages from employee paychecks?

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Can an employer deduct for shortages from employee paychecks?

I work at a dealership and lately our cash drawer has been coming up short on a daily basis. My employer has been dividing the shortage up and taking it out of our paychecks. Is this legal?

Asked on May 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal to take money out of employee paychecks for purported shorts. Employers may only deduct from employee paychecks 1) with employee consent (if the emloyee agrees to or allows it), or 2) for deductions required by law, like FICA or court-ordered wage garnishment.

If the employer believes that employees are either stealing or carelessly losing money, it may do the following:

1) Fire the employees, if they do not have an employment contract protecting their jobs.

2) Sue the employees for the money--in which case it would have to bring a lawsuit and then prove in court, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the employees took or lost  the money.


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