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Be Cautious in Requiring Payment From ‘Short’ Cashier

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. Management wants to institute a policy that requires cashiers whose registers are short at night's end to replace the disputed amount out of their own pockets. Does this violate the law? —B.B., New York

A. Almost every state has a different wage payment law and most require employees to authorize wage deductions. New York's wage payment law goes two steps further: It prohibits deductions from wages that are not authorized in writing by the employee and it requires that the deduction benefit the employee.

That means authorized deductions for insurance premiums, pension contributions, union dues and contributions to charities are lawful. But deductions for cashiers who are short? Don't do it. They're illegal in New York, even if they're authorized by the employee. And remember, it's illegal under federal law to force a cashier to repay register shortages if doing so pulls the worker's wages below minimum wage.

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