Is it legal for the employer to take my check for drawer shortage?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for the employer to take my check for drawer shortage?

Yesterday was my payday and when I went to pick up my check I was told that my boss came and picked it up and I was not going to get it. My boss said that I did not make a safe drop of $200. When she asked me about it I told her how I left it for the next shift to make change and I understand that it was my responsibility but she never looked into the situation. After I was said and done I walked out and quit because she was accusing me and not investigating the situation. Then when it was time to pick up my check they told me she came and got it. When I asked about my check she said I need to pay for the shortage. She said I was short $115 and then the original $200 safe drop. She never showed any proof about the shortage. She never mentioned the $115 and when I said she needed to show me my hours and the deduction she told me no. I never signed anything saying I would repay for shortages or they could keep my check. What should I do?

Asked on December 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue her for the money (e.g. in small claims court): the law is very definite that an employer may not withhold employee pay except (1) with employee consent or agreement; or (2) as court- (or IRS-)ordered wage garnishment (e.g. for child support or back taxes).
Her recourse or option, if she believes you lost her money somehow, would be to sue you for it: if she can convince a court that you carelessly or deliberately lost or took her money, she can get a court judgment (order) in her favor requiring you to repay it. But she can't simply withhold the money from wages.
So since she cannot legally withhold the money from you, you can sue to recover it. She could countersue for the money she claims you  cost her. In theory, if she can prove in court that you did lose, etc. the money, you could end up owing her that at the same time that she owes you the wages and the amounts would net out against each other. So if you do think that you did cost, lose, etc. her the money, then let her keep the money from your check, since if you did cause this loss to her, you'll end up responsible for it anyway, if she chooses to take action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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