Can my boss charge me for mistakes made at work?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2019

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Can my boss charge me for mistakes made at work?

I work at a restaurant in Ohio, and my boss claims that he can make me pay for mistakes made in the kitchen or broken plates and glasses. Is this true?

Asked on January 8, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

He is both right and wrong.
Can he dock your wages, take your tips, or othewise take the money directly from you? No, not unless you consent (agree) to let him do so--the law is very clear that employee pay may not be docked or withheld without employee consent (or a court order, such as for court-ordered wage garnishment). 
However, assuming you don't have a written employment contract protecting your job, you are an "employee at will." An employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason--including a failure to pay for mistakes or damage. So if your boss wants you to pay for these things and you don't, you could be terminated (or suspended, hours cut, etc.).

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