Can my old employer make me pay for the past?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my old employer make me pay for the past?

My boyfriend recently got fired for drinking while bartending. His boss is now trying to

make him pay for 1 drink per each shift that he’s worked in the past couple months ($540). He has had drinks before at work but can the employer really take him to court for this money? Should he take it seriously?

Asked on February 24, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If bartenders were not comped drinks but had to pay for them themselves, then if your boyfriend drank the employer's liquor on the job, he stole from the employer--he stole the monetary value equivalent to the cost of the drinks he took. In that case, legally, he could be sued by the employer to recover that money if the employer asks for it and he doesn't pay. However, the employer can only recover equal to the amount of drinks it can *prove* he took, whether by  other employee testimony, security videos, admissions or statements (whether written or oral) by your boyfriend, etc. Just saying that it "thinks" he drank one drink per shift is not proof and should not win it any money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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