If a clerk in a store approves a check that bounces can the store owner take the money out of the clerk’s pay?

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If a clerk in a store approves a check that bounces can the store owner take the money out of the clerk’s pay?

My granddaughter works in a store and allowed a customer to cash a check. The check bounced. Now the store owner says he is going to take the money out of her paycheck. Is this legal?

Asked on November 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Some states outright allow an employee to be charged for a mistake; in others an employee can only made to cover a loss if there is an union/employment contract or stated employment policy indicating that their employer can charge back errors of this kind. However, even if it can require repayment, an employer cannot simply deduct from an employee's paycheck; payroll deductions are subject to a number of limitations.  Without an employee expressly agreeing to such a deduction, they would need to make repayment by writing a check, etc. to their employer.

Note: In an "at will" employment reltionship (and most employment arrangements are), an employer can terminate an employee for not making repayment. In fact an at-will employer can fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

Bottom line, you just may want to work out a repayment arrangement with your employer to keep the peace and your job.


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