Can an employer hold an employee responsible for the cost and or replacement of merchandise incorrectly ordered?

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Can an employer hold an employee responsible for the cost and or replacement of merchandise incorrectly ordered?

Asked on September 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an employer can hold an employee responsible for the cost or replacement of merchandise which was incorrectly ordered: the employee's negligence (or carelessness) caused the employer to suffer a loss or incur an uncecessary cost, and the employer may seek reimbursement. Note the following:

1) If it wasn't the employee's fault (e.g. a customer, coworker, or supervisor provided the wrong information), then the employee would not be liable.

2) The employer may not simply withhold money from the employee's paycheck without the employee's agreement or permission; the employer may sue for the money, however.

3) If the employee does not have a contract or union agreement protecting his/her job, he or she may be fired for an error like this.


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