What are an employee’s rights regarding being penalized financially for their mistakes?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are an employee’s rights regarding being penalized financially for their mistakes?

I recently quit a server job .They have a system where we write down the order and price it ourselves on a guest check. That is how the customer paid. If we forgot to write the price of an item the kitchen was required to circle it in red. When the customer paid they still had to pay for the item, the cashier wrote in the price. As a punishment though the servers are required to also pay for the item, so essentially the restaurant is paid for the item twice. If the owner is questioned they said that if we didn’t like it we could leave. They keep the checks so we don’t have proof. Is this legal? If not, what can I do to help future employees?

Asked on November 5, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It is legal from when you have notice of this policy forward (it can't be applied to you before you know of it) because an employer may make this a term or condition of employment: that employees will pay penalties for errors. Anyone who does not want to work under that policy can, as the employer states, seek employment elsewhere.

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