Can an employee be held liable for a loss/shortfall?

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Can an employee be held liable for a loss/shortfall?

I work at a hotel and one of my co-workers didn’t see that a guest’s credit card declined when he checked the computer (it doesnt stop declined cards). The guest left the next day without stopping by to pay for the room and now my boss says my that my co-worker must pay the $90 for the room. Is this legal?

Asked on October 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an employer can charge for such shortages but only if existing company policy allows for this (or the terms of a union agreement or employment contract do). Additionally, no deductions can be made from an employee's paycheck without the employee's permission.

If an employer has the right to be compensated for a shortfall of this type, it must pay an employee their paycheck and, in turn, have the employee then pay the amount in question back over to them. If the employee refuses to pay then the employer can seek its remedy at law (i.e. sue for the money).


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