Can my boss withhold my check if I don’t pay boyfriend’s tab at the store?

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Can my boss withhold my check if I don’t pay boyfriend’s tab at the store?

I quit my job today and my boss is threatening to withhold my check if I don’t pay my boyfriends tab. I’m the cashier and all I did was ring up the sale; the manager and the boss are the ones who told me the list of names that are OK for a tab. He and my boyfriend had a buyer/seller relationship before I started working at the shop. Is it legal for them to do this?

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal to withhold an employee's paycheck, even if the employer believes the employee owes it money. The correct response if your employer believes you somehow cost it money is to sue you for the amount--though it is unlikely, at least based on what you write, that you would in fact owe the store anything.

Since the employer may not withhold your paycheck, you could sue the store (including in small claims court) to recover your pay.


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