Is it illegal for an employer to make a waitress pay for a customer walking out on their bill?

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Is it illegal for an employer to make a waitress pay for a customer walking out on their bill?

Asked on August 15, 2011 Hawaii

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employer can make a waitress pay for a customer walking out on theirbill. The fact is that in an "at will" employment situation an employer can hire or fire as it sees for and impose whatever terms and conditions of employment as it deems necessary. Unless this violates a union or employment contract or this action is the result of some form of discrimination, anemployer is within its rights to require such a payment.

That having been said, an employer may not deduct from an employee's paycheck for this; at least without the employee's prior consent or a known company policy in effect. If such a deduction is made the employee can report such action to their state's department of labor.


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