it it illegal to cash my payroll checks into the cash drawer at my place of employment?

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it it illegal to cash my payroll checks into the cash drawer at my place of employment?

As of yesterday I was in receipt of 3 uncashed payroll checks, from my job which ends today, as the business is closing. When I presented the checks to the issuing institution, I was told the account was frozen. When I spoke to the owner about this, first he said that the funds would be available today, then he said the checks would cash at the beginning of next week. At the end of my shift yesterday, I cashed the checks into the cash drawer. The owner is now threatening criminal charges, and threatening that I will never again work in this town.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is completely illegal, to do what you did: you took money (cash) from your employer without permission or authority; the fact you left your payroll check behind no more makes it legal than it would be legal if you took a neighbor's car but left a $10,000 check in their mailbox. You may not take another's property without permission, even if you leave something of value: what you did is form of theft. (If the employer had given you permission, then it would have been ok.) He can press charges and is free to tell everyone he knows about you did, as well as to recommend to his associates that they do not hire you.


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