Is it legal for my employer to hold me accountable for another cashier’s/supervisor’s mistake?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to hold me accountable for another cashier’s/supervisor’s mistake?

At my store, we have a shared cash till. Only the shift supervisors can verify the amount before opening and after closing the store. Cashiers are not allowed to count and verify the tills. There is no changing of cash tills or verifying amounts between assigned times and assigned users. There is no single till per cashier and there is no way to track, even with usernames, if or when someone messed up and gave incorrect change. Our POS only tracks credit transactions, supervisors can touch anyones’ cash register to help a customer and are not required to change their usernames. And at the end of the day, the cash is counted and weighed… yup. weighed. So, if Cashier A messed up in the morning shift, and Cashier B is assigned to use the register for night shift, both individuals receive a write up even if everything was Person A’s fault. There are times I catch that a supervisor doesn’t know how to count and use an unsuspecting cashier’s register to perform a transaction but whatever variance/mistake is in the register from the supervisor is now going to the

cashier A and B, even if it was supervisor’s fault. I was never informed of this policy until 10 months after I was employed and received my first write-up. There is no way to prove that the variances are my fault and no matter how extremely careful I am with counting, and not matter obsessive compulsive I’ve become when receiving money or giving back change, I will always receive a write up for someone else’s mistake. Is this legal?

Asked on February 7, 2019 under Employment Labor Law


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Can you be forced to repay money for another's mistake? No, to force you to pay--e.g. to sue you for the money--they'd have to be able to prove that you lost or took the money. You are not legally liable for another's error. 
However, if you don't have a written employment contract protecting your employment, such as from arbitrary or unproven discipline, you can be "written up" or otherwise disciplined, up to an including being terminated, at any time, for any reason, even unfair or incorrect ones. Slo you can be written up or disciplined for another's mistake.

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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