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

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

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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