If an employee refuses to pay back a cash shortage, what, if any, action can the employer take?

The policy was not in place at time of shortage that employees would be required to pay back cash shortages.

Posted  11-10-2010

Ann Kiernan replies:

In answering this question, I am assuming that the employee was running a cash register. The fact that there was a shortfall means that there is a performance issue, for which you can and should coach, counsel, warn, and discipline, even if you did not have a policy requiring reimbursement for cash shortages. By the way, in most, if not all, states, it is illegal to deduct that reimbursement from the worker’s paycheck.

But if you think you have a thief on your staff, call the police!


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About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.