Can my employer require me to pay any money back that comes up missing in our cash drawer?

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Can my employer require me to pay any money back that comes up missing in our cash drawer?

I work for an insurance company that accepts cash payments from clients for premiums. If several people have access to the money and they can’t determine who was at fault, they make us all divide up the missing money and pay it back. Can they legally make me pay this missing money back, especially if they have no proof that I was the person who caused the shortage?

Asked on November 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Delaware

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes it can; this is legal. However, typically an employee must know of this type of policy up front and in advance; such a policy cannot be instituted after the fact. And, as a general rule, an employer may not make any deductions for shortfalls directly from an employee's paycheck, at least not without the employee's express permission (i.e. they signed off on such a policy or it was contained in the terms of an employment contract/union agreement). If your employer has to, it can sue for any amounts due in small claims court, etc (but again, it cannot automatically make a deduction).

Note: If you refuse to pay, your boss could fire you for the amount of the shortage. In an "at will" employment relationship, an employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all.


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