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Employment Law/Can an employee be charged for cash shortage, discounting an item incorrectly


QUESTION: A charge was incorrectly entered in the computer and therefore a customer was undercharged for an item by $100 or in another instance the wrong change is given to a customer shorting the cash drawer $20. my employer has decided to make a policy to deduct errors from paychecks. Is this legal? We operate in Kansas and Oklahoma.

ANSWER: Gay - No, it is not legal.  You are entitled to receive your full pay for time worked.  If your employer begins this policy, you can file a wage claim with the federal Department of Labor for any wages lost as a result of these shortages.  It can be a disciplinary matter, with write-ups and terminations, but wages cannot be deducted.

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QUESTION: So, even if the employee signs a statement to the effect of "any cash shortages, etc will be deducted from employees pay", this is still illegal?  I have seen this in other states, and wondered if it was legal in Kansas or Oklahoma.

Gay - This is a more complicated question.  In theory, if you are paid at least the minimum wage for every hour you work after the shortage is deducted, your employer has not violated the law.  Some states do not allow such deductions even with the permission of the employee, but you do not work in one of those states.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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