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Employment Law/Employer charging for mistakes


We have had two employees make mistakes at a resturaunt I work at in Colorado. First employee did not turn a cooler back on and the result was losing lots of food items. Now my employer is deducting money from his paycheck to pay for the loss. Is this legal? Second, an employee didn't charge tax for an artwork purchase, now she is getting money deducted from her paycheck to cover the loss. Is this legal.

According to Colorado law these deductions are illegal to make.

Impermissible Deductions:

Deductions for property damage

In general, absent a written agreement to the contrary, employers may not deduct from an employee's wages or compensation for the cost of damage or depreciation to the employer's property. For example, an employer may not typically deduct the cost of damage to a company car from an employee's wages, unless an enforceable written agreement existed between the employer and employee that is not in violation of the law.

Deductions as fines for employee behavior or actions

In general, employers may not apply fines to an employee's earned wages or compensation based upon employee behavior or performance. For example, an employer may not typically deduct from the wages of a restaurant waitperson for the cost of a meal in the event that the customer does not pay the bill.

I would say these mistakes fall into the impermissible deduction category.

You can go to the Colorado Department of Labor and file a claim.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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